Rich was working on flipping more pancakes and making coffee when he asked if anyone needed another pancake. I looked around at the children’s plates. They all had pancakes, so I said, “Everybody is good.”
Then I stood up from the table to get a second pancake for myself.
Rich was frustrated. He made some comment about how I had noticed everyone was good – except me. Then calmly and quietly he said it:
“I hate that.”
I protested silently. Everyone was good, I thought. I don’t count in the “everyone” part…
“Fine!” I said out loud, as I plunked my plate down hard on the counter. “I’m going running.”
Inside, I wrongly reasoned, You hate something I said, which means you hate me. And since you hate me, I refuse to eat your pancakes, no matter how wonderful they are.
I ran three grumpy miles. When I got home, I did not want to come inside because I knew Rich would respond to the sound of me opening the door. I knew him enough to know that although he was chatting pleasantly with Grandpa, he was also waiting for me.
I went directly to the garage and pulled out the mower. Stink. The choice was: go inside to switch my running shoes for my old work sneakers, or turn my running shoes green behind the mower. As I expected, Rich heard me trying to sneak in the side door and greeted me on the porch.
He said he wanted to be a servant to me. He said he wanted to demonstrate love to me by putting a pancake on my plate.
Well, I don’t need a servant, I thought. I am a big girl. I can do it myself. I don’t need love and I don’t need pancakes. That is what I thought. But what I said was, “I want to learn to let you be my servant.”
He noticed I had on one running shoe and one old, brown work sneaker. He quietly bent down, took off my running shoe and replaced it with my matching work sneaker.
I practiced letting him be my servant. “What are you? Trying to be like Jesus?” I teased, in an effort to break the tension I felt. He finished with a kiss on my forehead, and in his tenderness, my anger evaporated away.
He sat with me and sipped his coffee while I enjoyed the last pancake he had reserved specially for me. Then, filled up with love and pancakes, I tackled the grass outside.
I pushed the mower over the grass and wondered about understanding love. How can I truly know, deep-down inside of me know, that God loves me if I keep refusing the love Rich offers?
In the one, I see the other. Thank you God for persistent love.