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Friday, November 25, 2011

thank you

Dear FH,

(Who will just have to live with the fact that we're spending all major holidays with my side of the family.  Because they're awesome).


1200 people walked into our restaurant for Thanksgiving dinner yesterday.  And I served eighty of them. 


I'm still in recovery mode.

Thanksgiving is an all-hands-on-deck kind of day.  All of our staff - no exceptions - gather together to serve what seems like all of Virginia Beach.  The restaurant was flooded with so many people, they were merely a sea of faces, strong perfume, big jewelry  (and even bigger hair).

Busy days like that, when my section is filled to the brim, it seems like one wrong move could produce a domino effect of rather catastrophic catastrophes.  Here is when the people I serve are nothing more than a table number, a beverage order, and a dollar amount of gratuity when they depart.  I go, grab, place, serve, clean, pour in a completely feigned natural-looking robot mode.

Until...

One lady in a large black and white polka dot sweater in the corner touches my hand as I place a glass of fragrant merlot on her table.  I stopped dead in my tracks.  What was she stopping me for?

"Thank you for spending your Thanksgiving serving us," the lady says to me.  Her eyes are as full of sincerity as my portion of the restaurant is filled with buzzing people.

A lump of sadness blindsided me as it jumped very quickly into my throat.

Season number two of spending the holidays without my family.  I had told myself this year that I wouldn't pout, and that I wouldn't be sad.  That I would be very grown up about my situation this year (a.k.a. not like last year).  Plus, my family will always be here to celebrate on a day that works for all of us.

We don't let days of the year dictate when we can have a party, you know?  We're party people.

But in that moment, knowing that my sacrifice - however little it is in comparison to those who serve in the armed forces and risk their lives - meant something special to someone else.

And you know, FH?  It made me thankful.  Suddenly, it didn't matter that I wouldn't see my family on this particular day.  It didn't matter that I was working until my ankles were so weak that I can barely walk today.  I was overwhelmed, standing in front of this woman in a polka dot sweater fighting back tears as I told her,

"It's my pleasure to serve you all."

And you know what?  It wasn't even a lie.

This part of my life, FH, this place that I'm in where I have no idea who you are, if I've already met you, or if I'm lightyears away of maturation before I'm ready to even think about the "m" word ("m" as in marriage), has been quite pleasurable.

I spent the rest of the evening, after I cleaned up and hung my green tie in the closet for the next day of serving, with good friends, strong drinks and homemade turkey.

It's okay that I don't know who you are, or that I'm out here doing this whole independent lady thing.

I'm truly thankful for the season I'm in.  I'm thankful I don't know who you are yet.  And I'm thankful that I'm experiencing these adventures on my own.  I'm thankful that I'm (hopefully) becoming a stronger person outside of a relationship with you.  And I'm thankful that God has perfect timing, and that when when we finally do come together, there will be no shadow or trace of any doubt in my mind whatsoever.

I'm thankful I have a family so valuable and precious to me that I do miss them.

And I hope my prayers and thoughts displayed here are as sincere and earnest as that polka-dotted lady's words when she first thanked me.

And I'm also thankful that I have a husband who will understand how important it is that I spend the holidays with my family, since I spent so many of them serving food to strangers.

I hope.

One day.

Please?


B.
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Wednesday, November 23, 2011

I wanna go fast

Dear Future Husband,

(Who will either have to slow me down or play constant catch-up to keep up with this chick)

I think I'm moving too fast.

My life right now is an incessant string of meetings, papers, reading material, presentations, e-mails - and that's just taking into consideration the grad school sector.  There's this whole other portion of my day I dedicate to serving food to strangers.

No, not in some madonna-esque charity work.  For tips.  I'm just greedy like that.

Nearly every day, on top of the journals, and lectures and notes and trying to figure out what-the-heck is going on Blackboard (seriously, what is this labyrinth of craziness? I've been a college student for almost six years now, and still am not fluent in Bb language), I put on a bleached and starched white collar, and a bright green tie, and bebop into work with my curly, brunette pony tail leaving my only trace.

I'm usually late, and everyone in my life gets along fine with me so long as they give me a five-minute buffer zone.  Sometimes I need seven, but I never need ten.  My legs carry me as quickly down the long back hallway to the front of the restaurant as they can; giving the illusion that I am just eager to get to work, rather than I'm rushing to report on time for my shift.

We live in a world that likes to go fast.

The people I serve food like to go fast, too.

Even though most weeks I spend over fifty hours at the restaurant, I'm never not taken aback by its clean and colonial beauty as I trounce through the large wooden swinging door, entering the dining floor. The lights are dim, and each of the tables are set and lined with perfectly creased white table cloths. A tiny tea light at the center of each table illuminates an angelic glow.

It's really quite breath taking.

"Uh, waitress?" A large, white-haired man looks up at me through his wire-rimmed glasses.  "We've got a play to get to in forty-five minutes.  How long will it take for a beef brisket to cook?"

And just like that, the illusion shatters.

Now, Future Husband*, I may move fast, but I am not in the fast food business.  And no matter how much patience I muster when I have tables like this who snap their  fingers at me, or who ask me to tell the kitchen they have "some place to be" I can't get over it.

If you're here, in a fine dining restaurant expecting your Kobe Burger to come out as quickly as a patty at Burger King would, you're horribly mistaken.

A mere ten minutes pass, and it begins to get awkward.  I can feel the white-haired man with wire rimmed glasses staring at me.  He looks at his watch, murmurs something to his wife, and taps his brown loafers on the floor.

He gestures me over to the table.

"Miss, we're really in a hurry, how much longer on our food?  This is ridiculous."

Classic, shoot-the-messenger syndrome.

"Sir, I assure you the cooks are working as quickly as they can.  Your meal will be out shortly and worth the wait."

The man rolls his eyes, and I watch as a droplet of water slides down the front of his frosted water glass. I wonder if he can see a similar droplet forming at the top of my forehead.

I'm going as fast as I can.

And then it hits me: I am the impatient white-haired man with the wire-rimmed glasses.

Now, don't misunderstand me.  I am very much a woman.  Not to worry.

But, there are certain things in my life - things like you - that I have been very impatient with.  So impatient, in fact, that I was willing to settle for the Burger King version of you.

Does that make sense?

In other words, I was so desperate for the right man to come along, that I was willing to make any man the right man.  As you can well imagine, this has gotten me into trouble in the past (more on that later).


All the while I'm whining to my girlfriends, whining in my prayers.  "Lord, where IS this man? This is ridiculous.  It shouldn't take this long!"

 The Lord is saying, "He'll be along shortly, and he'll be worth the wait. I promise."

I need to learn to be patient.

A few minutes later, I see the man's beef brisket appear under the heat lamps near the kitchen.  Quickly, I go to the table, and display the food proudly before the gentlemen.  He nods, and smiles as he takes a bite of his peach-flavored barbeque brisket.

"Was it worth the wait?" I ask him with a smile.
"Mmmph," says the man between bites (I'm the queen of asking people questions as soon as they take a mouth-full of food).  "Compliments to the chef!"

Because the good things, the important things in life are worth waiting for.  You, FH, are worth waiting for.  Heck, you're worth writing for.




B.
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Saturday, November 19, 2011

a man worth writing for: a year of my life in letters to my future husband

It all started with a letter I wrote a few years ago to my future husband.

The idea was to write a letter, a love letter, to the man I was going to marry without having the slightest idea of who he was or how he would happen into my life. I hadn't a clue what was going on in my little heart at the time, but it was something I needed to do to prove to myself that I had faith in what God had promised me.

I had just broken up with my high school sweetheart, a phase in my life that to this day I'm not completely sure I understand, still.  All I know was that the Lord had called us apart, and I had ignored his calling for too long.

Those breakups are the worst.  The ones where everything is right and well, but you're holding each other from what you were made to do.  I was discouraged.  I had lost my best friend, and the love of my life (at that point in time, anyway) all at one crappy Fourth of July cookout.

There were two things I remembered about that day: I broke up with my boyfriend of nearly four years at my neighborhood's pool party.  To top the whole day off, there were no hot dogs to be found anywhere.

Worst. Fourth of July.  Ever.

But, I look back on those years fondly as just a fond, innocent time in my life and I am thankful and blessed by them.

It's three years later and it's quite humbling to think that I'm still waiting for a man to sweep me away as he did.  Hasn't happened yet.

And it's perfect.

Because now, I'm a fairly independent young woman living alone in Virginia Beach.  Fairly independent, because I know I truly could not function without the joy following the Lord has given me, and a family who supports and loves every breath, thought, or pursuit of my being.

I'm pursuing my dreams and my Master's degree all the while serving strangers food every night at my beautiful little fine dining restaurant.  And I'm confident that the Lord sees that it is good.

Of course, anyone who has heard the slightest whisper of how the world works will tell you that life is so not easy.  These realizations have startled me from a complacent place in my little corner of the world.

My heart has been wrecked, and left only halfway mended.  And having a glass-half full when it comes to healing is impossible.  Being only partially full leaves the remaining parts only yearning and hurting more.

Then there's this whole business of jealousy that pries its way into your life.  My Facebook feed is flooded with gorgeous engagement pictures.  You know the ones, color enhanced, the lady's left hand on the chest of her fiance.  Don't get me wrong, I am so happy for them all.  But, it's almost humorous how those photos of people I barely know can send me into a whirlwind of discontent and insecurity.

So, in the midst of all of this one letter written a few years ago no longer holds the promise of what my life and future holds.  Let's say, it was a step in the right direction.

I decided to chronicle a year of my life in letters to my future husband who will, of course, be the man worth waiting for.  Or, in my case, the man worth writing for.

This is what my blog will now be dedicated to.

I've thought long and hard about starting over fresh, and just beginning again.  However, I can't just dismiss the things I've written in the past.  Part of life is learning from mistakes and growing from them.  This little site has such a neat place in my heart, and I'm too sentimental to let it go.

But things are going to change around these parts for sure.

There have been so many interesting lessons learned, and crazy characters I've met along the way here, and stories too good not to share.  Sometimes I think the random tidbits and thoughts that pop up out of nowhere happen solely so that I may write them down.  And I totally do.

My little fingers are bursting on the keys - and I'm trying to hold them back as to not reveal too much at once.

Welp.  This is going to be fun.  I hope you'll read along.



B.
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