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.”



Filed under faith and things like it

8 responses to “Graciousness

  1. Nancy

    What- no discussion of free will and election over dessert? Coming from a strict Baptist background, I nearly developed an ulcer whilst reading this one. It took me back to the day I told my mother we were having Carter baptized. I was all in knots and convulsions. But instead of getting angry, she sighed and said “When is it? I want to make sure we put it on our calendar.” And she and my dad came and never once acted like we were back- slidden. In fact, she shopped for and bought Will’s baptism outfit! But last week, I wouldn’t let Nate order a beer at supper with my dad. I have to draw the line somewhere.

    • That’s hilarious. I’m always impressed with people who are tolerant and accepting of people who hold completely different beliefs or act in ways they never would. I need to be more like this.

  2. Joel

    Here’s a scandalous tidbit for you:

    Whilst visiting us in Copenhagen some time ago, Mrs. B indulged in several small nips of schnapps over a lunch of smørrebrød and herring! Rather adorably, she later convinced herself that she was half-drunk from these tiniest of nips. And she also proclaimed that she didn’t mind, since she was in Denmark and on holiday.

    We assured her that, no, she was in fact not drunk–and certainly no loopier than normal. Good times. And yes, Mr. B bought us all lunch that day, too (and I also had a beer).

  3. rose

    Oh my, I feel honored that I was part (although indirectly) of this moment. I will never forget being in labor for those many hours and Phil reading the text messages from you:)

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