Not too long ago, Brennan and I stepped foot in Chick-fil-A for a date. We are regulars there, you know. I don’t recall what we’d been doing previously that morning, but I do remember that the restaurant was refreshingly less crowded than it usually is at lunch time. We found a booth in the children’s area next to the playground and I got Brennan set up with his chicken nuggets, fruit cup and a couple of my fries. It was the first time he tried using a straw and found it vigorously big-boyish. I quickly noticed who was surrounding us. Two booths behind us was an elderly couple likely in their 70s or 80s sitting across from each other. Next to us on my right were two ladies, one seemed to be in her 30s and the other one her 20s. But those age lines are becoming more blurry to me the older I get, so I could very well be off-target with those age estimations.
Being the nosy person that I am, it didn’t take long to bend my ear slightly toward to the conversation the two women were having. It was obvious from the get-go that the younger one was wrestling with relationship issues with her boyfriend, wondering why he wasn’t ready to make a deeper commitment. It also soon became apparent that the other lady who was lending her ear was also offering a free plate of advice that had a skeptical outlook on the maturity of men as the main course with a side dish of lingering hurt from the broken relationship of her first marriage. It was painful to listen to these two who had, at one point or another, been deeply hurt by a man while one of them was trying to console the other with what was ultimately not helpful or uplifting “counsel”.
As God beautifully created us women to be, I was multitasking by eavesdropping and making sure my little angel boy was filling his belly and encouraged by what an awesome job he was doing holding his cup and drinking from a straw. I also happened to notice the elderly couple sitting very contentedly behind me. They didn’t say much, but it was easy to tell their relationship far exceeded that of Marie and Frank Barone from Everybody Loves Raymond. Who knows how long they’d been married, but I’m assuming because of my age estimation that it had been quite awhile. At least 40 years. As they exited the restaurant and made their way to their car parked in a handicap spot, the gentleman proceeded to open his lady’s car door for her. After seven and a half years of marriage, Matt still opens the car door for me. But who’s to say he’ll do it after 40!? That I do not know, but I think we can all agree that that act lends itself to be a mark of a gentleman.
Granted, I’m doing a lot of speculating and assuming based upon my eavesdropping and observations, but I couldn’t get over the blaring contrast between the stories emerging from the two booths next to us. My heart ached for the women who were contemplating relationships and clearly wanting to pour their hearts (and their bodies) out to men who seemed to so flippantly and casually handle them, leaving them scarred and cynical but still willing to do anything they could to obtain an assurance of being loved. Love is what they were looking for, yet it wasn’t being reciprocated in the way they expected or hoped it would. From the other booth, I saw a couple who, if you grant me the freedom to envision their relationship, had grown old together and had managed to weave their way through both the mountains and valleys of life that we all face to still show respect and love for each other in the simplest measure of opening a car door.
My attention would jump from booth to booth and then onto Brennan, sitting there so innocently, untouched by the reality of navigating through relationships in this world. Oh, if he could only stay that way. Watching him sit there with ketchup smeared all over his face and water dripping down his chin, I couldn’t help but mentally fall on my knees before the Lord in prayer asking for His sweet grace upon Brennan’s life as he grows into manhood. That he would be so blessed as to have a loving and faithful marriage relationship that 65 years from now he’d be sitting in a booth fulfilled with his wife of many years with a treasured understanding that they love each other. And by all means, may the Lord help us to raise Brennan to be a man who knows how to treat a woman with purity and dignity so that she does not sit around with a friend bashing him and wishing she had nothing to do with him. As my friend, Jill, puts it, may he leave her better off having met him than if she hadn’t.
I well know from my hormonal teenage years how gung-ho I was to have a boyfriend. How vividly I remember walking out of While You Were Sleeping all weepy-eyed longing for a boy to set his eyes upon me. I am not unaware of how easy it is for a girl to pine after a man’s affections, willing to flaunt anything and everything to receive it. I’m afraid that those two women sitting in that Chick-fil-A booth were willing to do just that in order to gain what they thought would be true love, thereby sacrificing a whole lot more than they realize. By golly, with as many comments from ya’ll and others that I’ve received about girls flocking to those deep blue eyes of Brennan’s, the quicker my prayers go up the better! So I pray for the girls that Brennan will meet, that they would also deal with him in a manner of purity and respect.
No matter what, Brennan will one day be at a point where he will have to decide which booth he’s going to sit in. Yes, the girl whom he’s in a relationship with also has a part to play in it, but right now my emphasis is on the imprint he will make on a woman’s life. By his actions, he’ll either choose the booth that leaves a woman hurt and potentially bitter, or the booth that will see him walking out to open the car door of his bride of 40 years. I pray fervently for him it’s the latter.
In the meantime, I contentedly enjoy my place in the booth next to him.
See, I set before you today life and prosperity, death and destruction. For I command you today to love the LORD your God, to walk in his ways, and to keep his commands, decrees and laws; then you will live and increase, and the LORD your God will bless you in the land you are entering to possess. But if your heart turns away and you are not obedient, and if you are drawn away to bow down to other gods and worship them, I declare to you this day that you will certainly be destroyed…This day I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses.
Now choose life, so that you and your children may live and that you may love the LORD your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him. For the LORD is your life…