Breakfast at Denny’s

Whittled Word for September 13, 2014

My late morning, short drive to the local Denny’s restaurant, just down the hill from my digs, and sitting as a welcome beacon to hungry travelers heading eastward on Hwy. 80 through Auburn, perhaps on their way to Tahoe, holds the high place of a highlight in my otherwise boring life!

Of course the specter of simply getting out of my cave of comfort was not the motivation for the two mile trip. And it was not the reasonably priced menu that drew me. There is something more compelling for me. It is hidden on the back of one of the several menus; listed under the $6 items! The product, more than the price is what begins my salivation. It is French Toast!

As long as I can remember, I’ve preferred French Toast over pancakes. And, coupled with eggs, it begins to beckon me to the platter. The particular menu item lists French Toast, eggs, hash browns and bacon or sausage. For some time, partly driven by a desire for a relatively healthy lifestyle, I’ve substituted hash browns with fruit. I recently added a couple of slices of avocado.

Today my tuning fork of taste composed the instruments of this symphony comprising only French Toast, scrambled eggs, two slices of bacon and appropriately ripened avocado slices.

As I intermittently sipped my Keurig, home-brewed coffee, adulterated with two ounces of hazelnut creamer, and moved from one moist morsel to the next and back again, the end was in sight as the sweet syrup drowned the French toasty dessert remaining on the plate. All gone! Sigh!

Ahhhhhh… breakfast at Denny’s!

Lest you think my life is somewhat pathetic, as I have ascribed to myself many times, think about these elements in the above scenario.

I navigated this short journey alone. I did not go because someone else wanted to go. I did not simply go because I was hungry. I did not travel that 7% downgrade slope just to get out of the house. I went because I had a hankering for my French Toast breakfast. This scenario perfectly pictures “individuation,” the emotionally healthy awareness of knowing who you are and are not, what you like and what you do not like, and, most importantly, possessing an evolving, implemented grasp of your own boundaries.

You might say, “So what does French Toast have to do with boundaries!?” Simply this: the only true control we have in our lives is our own decisions. When those decisions are based on a healthy expression of who and how we are, then a measure of contentment is experienced in knowing that it doesn’t matter what someone else thinks about our choices.

In the past I have been influenced by those that thought Denny’s restaurants are only a last resort destination for weary travelers who can’t find other places to eat. I may have felt self-conscious eating alone, with the now familiar inquiry from the host or hostess, “JUST one today?” And in past passionate reactions I’ve responded, “What do you mean, ‘JUST one?’ ”

Being in a state of singleness for almost fifteen years, after having been married for thirty, leaves the stark stigma of not quite fitting in. And being involved intimately with Christian single leadership groups, it showcases the bewildering blindness of church leadership in addressing the more than one-half of the population that is single in the Bay Area. It almost seems to me that they are looking at the few that have made it into the net, rather than the many who are yet to be harvested. A vision sees the harvest more than the current catch.

But I digress! That’s what I do masterfully!

The point is this: We are ALL, every person who ever lived, ALWAYS and EVER single! We come into this world single. We die single. We don’t take anything or anyone with us. Even as couples we remain “single” in God’s eyes. When we stand before Him, we will stand alone. God does not save us as a couple. He does not grade us as a couple. Jesus was single. Paul was single. When God sees us, He sees us as COMPLETE in Him. We need not be coupled with another to fully qualify for His absolute, unconditional and lavish love and attention.

And my conclusion is that as we come to understand this concept more and more, couples will be less judgmental toward singles and singles will feel less marginalized and judged by so-called “together” entities. Perhaps it is time for the church to cease compartmentalizing and commence compassionalizing (my made-up word)!

Let us all be single minded. Because we can have our French Toast and eat it too!

“Don’t pick on people, jump on their failures, criticize their faults— unless, of course, you want the same treatment. That critical spirit has a way of boomeranging. It’s easy to see a smudge on your neighbor’s face and be oblivious to the ugly sneer on your own. Do you have the nerve to say, ‘Let me wash your face for you,’ when your own face is distorted by contempt? It’s this whole traveling road-show mentality all over again, playing a holier-than-thou part instead of just living your part. Wipe that ugly sneer off your own face, and you might be fit to offer a washcloth to your neighbor. Matthew 7 :1-5 The Message

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