We talked, we visited with some friends at another table, we chatted with the waitress about her favorite dishes, we made our selections, I ordered a glass of wine.... Rebekah and I enjoy dinning together; we talk about everything from what's on the front page of the paper, to the creative projects we're involved in, to our children, our dreams and concerns, and subjects as mundane as the odds that the cloud system we see moving in from the west will drop any rain - it did.
Eventually our food arrived. Mine was the "Chicken Bellagio", and I told the waitress about taking the ferry over to Bellagio (pictured, to right) with Andrew in June, when we stayed at a hotel on the other side of Lake Como.
After a few minutes the manager appeared, deeply apologetic about the delay.
"What delay?" I asked, honestly confused.
"Your order took far too long to get out to you," he explained.
"You don't understand," I replied. "We just returned from Tuscany. In Italy dinner is the evening's entertainment; this food is actually forty-five minutes early! Rebekah and I are here to enjoy the evening; so don't worry, we're fine."
"Italy?" he said, with the air of an Italian restaurant manager who has never seen Europe. "That must be nice. How do we compare?"
"This is a great restaurant," I said. "But see this glass of wine? It's Chianti, of course; but you charged me $7:50 for barely half a glass. In Tuscany you can get a bottle of the best house Chianti for around five Euro!"
Now I didn't ask to see the bottle. When I did that at Macaroni Grill I had to point out that their "Chianti" was actually produced in California! But I did put the manager at ease - or at least as much as I could in the fast-paced world of American dinning where a casual visit with a customer is pretty-much impossible to pull off because someone, somewhere, was probably holding some kind of a stop-watch on the poor guy.
He really didn't get that we weren't upset about waiting for our food. We were there to enjoy the evening, but all he could see was a low score on "turning tables." A class response would have been to send out another glass of Chianti as a "thank-you" for putting his mind at ease. But I suspect he'd already been paged about something else and forgot the conversation before he had covered fifty feet.
Life is too short to be in that much of a hurry. I know that sounds like a non sequitur - but the truth is life is not so much about the checking-off as the experience; not the destination so much as the journey.
I hope it lasts, this dine-like-we're-still-in-Italy feeling. And I hope it spills over to other things, too.
- I tell you not to worry about your life. Don't worry about having something to eat, drink, or wear. Isn't life more than food or clothing? Look at the birds in the sky! They don't plant or harvest. They don't even store grain in barns. Yet your Father in heaven takes care of them. Aren't you worth more than birds?Can worry make you live longer? Why worry about clothes? Look how the wild flowers grow. They don't work hard to make their clothes. But I tell you that Solomon with all his wealth wasn't as well clothed as one of them. God gives such beauty to everything that grows in the fields, even though it is here today and thrown into a fire tomorrow. He will surely do even more for you! Why do you have such little faith? Don't worry and ask yourselves, "Will we have anything to eat? Will we have anything to drink? Will we have any clothes to wear?" Only people who don't know God are always worrying about such things. Your Father in heaven knows that you need all of these. But more than anything else, put God's work first and do what he wants. Then the other things will be yours as well. Don't worry about tomorrow. It will take care of itself. You have enough to worry about today. Matthew 6