04 December 2012

Change in Perspective...from 4 Feet Away.

So, there I was, minding my own business...

I had done all the Saturday morning running around I had to do, but had the unfortunate, dreaded afternoon shift at the retail store where I work part-time.  I had an hour to kill, and frankly didn't feel like fast food.  This might surprise a few of my friends.  If you ever meet me, I will gladly sing the praises of what has to be the most amazing eating establishment ever opened on earth.  TACO BELL!  So tasty...and CHEAP!  (wait, is it o.k. to be a believer and not think ChickFila is the best...isn't it God's chosen fast food?? )

But on this day, I decided to skip the Meximelt with Creamy Jalapeno Sauce and went to a local Thai restaurant.  Alone.  YES, ALONE!  I did have a book with me, and they had a football game on the 46" flat-screen, so I was good.

As it was only 11:30, the place was mostly empty.  The Hostess/Waitress/Cashier/Cook/Daughter of the Owner sat me at a table that was less than 4 feet from another table that was occupied.  There are an estimated 6 Million Tables there (ok, probably more like 20) and she sat me next to another dude...who was alone.

As I perused the menu, and was making sure I was sitting on the right side to get the best angle at the TV, I couldn't help but notice he was sitting there with his food already in front of him.  But he wasn't eating.  He was just sitting there.  He looked about 30-ish and was doing nothing.  This was a little unnerving at first....then I realized I was there alone, and maybe I would feel like just sitting and not eating.  You want to make something of it??   Sounds fun.  Maybe?

The waitress (this was her role at this time), took my order and asked him if he was o.k.  He said yes, politely, but still didn't eat.  He wasn't reading.  He wasn't texting.  Nothing.  I am not sure he was breathing.

Can you tell this was bothering me??

Fast Forward another 5 minutes, and here comes my food.  I went with the delicious Chicken and Shrimp Pud Thai with steamed rice and a Spring RollOh man, even now my jowls are watering...is that a Southern thing?  What is a Jowl?  Regardless, I was excited!!!

She dropped off my food and then asked my silent friend if he wanted a to go box?  He said "I will wait.  They will be here." 

Oh...he was waiting for someone!!!  I felt much better!!  Except that he had been there for a while, obviously, and who orders their food before their dining companions arrive?  Not Me!!!

Anyway, shortly after the Spring Roll, and as I was starting on the Pud Thai, an older man walked in and headed for my motionless lunchmate.  He was older than us, and was wearing overalls, a bright white beard that matched the T-Shirt...He sat down across from the younger guy, with his back to me. 

Less than 4 feet away....

Hey, son.

Hey, Dad.  Where's Mom?

She's sittin' in the truck.  She ain't comin' in.


Son, he is not welcome in our home.

But Dad...

We've told you this before.  It ain't a shock.  If you want to come for Christmas, you are more than welcome, and we would love to have you.  But Kyle is not welcome in our home.  It just ain't right.

My Pud Thai experience wasn't going how I had planned. 
I couldn't eat. 
The tension was incredible. 
And less than 4 feet away...

Dad, I love you guys.  But I love him, too.  He is a part of my life, and...

Son, you know where we stand...

You know where I stand, too.  I am not asking you for approval,just acceptance.

We will never accept that.  Ever.  It ain't right.

Dad, please...

The Dad stood up.  Walked to the waitress and handed her some cash for the Son's meal. 

He went to the door to leave, put his hands on the door and stopped.  He turned around, made it back to the table, squatted down at his son's side....

We love you, son.  Always will.

He then stood and kissed his boy right on his forehead.  Turned.  and left.

I had not eaten a bite in quite sometime and didn't feel like eating.  I took a couple sips of my water.  My heart was racing.  The heaviness of what had just happened was on me.  Neither man raised their voices once.  It was a tender, painful, vicious, quiet moment between a father and a son that I had the misfortune of experiencing....

As I left there, I thought of writing about this scene and how I would handle it.  There are so many angles to this story and drama that played out in front of me, that I wasn't sure how to handle it...but why not write about what I felt immediately after the event...

It would be so easy to critique the father, lambast the son, refer to references on homosexuality...but what I took way from it was this...

Life is hard.  And if I had seen this on TV, or read about it, I may not have been moved by it.  I would probably dissect it and come up with what should have happened.  YOU may be doing this now when you read this...What the father should do.  What the son needs to do.

But it hit me like a ton of bricks.

Everywhere we go there are people going through some heavy, heavy stuff.  And while my knowledge of the Word may insulate me from certain issues, this was as REAL as it gets for those two men.  Who truly loved each other.

My take-away?  When someone brings up a struggle, trial, fight, temptation, addiction they are dealing with, instead of immediately ripping off verses and MY advice and take on it...

I am going to realize that what they are dealing with is in their heart, mind and soul...

And that is way closer than 4 feet away.


  1. Wow! That's a stunning thing to hear in person.

    I was most shocked by the fact that the father stuck with his principles and communicated such so clearly and emphatically. I have watched many more compromise over the years in the name of "love". He communicated the love and justice properly to his son, who desperately needs the gift of repentance. This was truly the most loving thing the father could have done for his wayward son.

    Also, you are spot on when you say that we have no idea how much pain dwells in the hearts of those right around us. May we always be filled with grace and truth in this world of fallen, hurting people.

  2. I find it easy to have opinions when I don't know anyone involved in an issue. Hypothetical opinions about hypothetical people.

    One of my close friends has a teenaged son who recently announced that he's gay.

    Suddenly I'm not so sure that I have all the answers.

    1. Leslie...my gut feeling is that you know the answers. My post was not aimed at shaking anyone away from the truth and speaking it with boldness. Just made me introspect about whether I speak it in love.

      Regardless of the feelings involved, the truth must be the central focus.

      Life is tough. And there are people involved, not hypothetical scenarios.

      Be blessed and encourage the family you are dealing with. Speak truth.

      Feel free to share my blog post, if you think it would somehow help.