This past summer I was visiting some of our dear friends from Copenhagen who were back in the States visiting family in Texas. A significant group of their extended families were also in town for their visit, including my friend Robyn’s grandparents.
Mr. and Mrs. B are one of those sweet, elderly southern couples who make you feel like they’re your own grandparents from all the smiles and “honeys” and “sugars” they pour on you. They are also steadfast in their moral convictions, which I was informed included a strong aversion to the consumption of alcohol. Coming from a Baptist background, I understood and respected where they were coming from.
The morning after I arrived, I found out that one of my best friends back home was going into labor. And between being stressed about not being there for her and being tired and dehydrated from the heat, when I sat down for lunch at 2:00pm across from Mr. B I didn’t think twice about ordering a beer.
When the waiter set the Corona down in front of me, I watched a bead of sweat roll slowly down the side of the bottle and simultaneously felt my throat constrict at the realization of what I’d done.
I finally drug my eyes from the table to tentatively glance around and see just how disrespectful my lunch companions thought I was being. It seemed that it had gotten a little quiet, but conversation quickly picked back up.
Since I’d already crossed the Rubicon, I decided to drink the beer.
And then, like it wasn’t enough, during a discussion about infant baptism – with the sweet, southern Baptist grandparents! – Robyn helpfully volunteered that both of our boys were baptized as infants.
By this point, I felt sure that Mr. and Mrs. B must think that I am a drunken, heretical mother.
Yet after all that, Mr. B paid for my lunch – including my beer. It doesn’t take too much of an imagination to see how my actions could have been taken as being overtly rude toward this kind couple, yet they extended a wealth grace to me through the simple act of taking the check and saying “Keep the change.”