Have you ever looked forward to a trip
or dining in a trendy place only to be disappointed by the actual experience? It
happened to us last year on a much anticipated vacation to St. Thomas Island. It was not our best beach vacation
because it rained nearly every day.
One experience stands out. We
searched out a café that bears the name of a favorite aunt. The New York Times listed it as a good
place for breakfast—a fact proudly displayed in the tourist booklet and on a
menu board at the door. Perhaps because our namesake is a gracious lady, we
expected a warm reception.
After snapping a picture of me under the
sign, Terry and I went inside where a regal matron escorted us to a tiny table
for two in the corner. Could it be Ms G, herself? I watched her greet two
regulars and seat them in a sunny spot, bringing them coffee and turning in
their orders. Surely a server would arrive soon with our menus in hand.
Ms G refilled coffee cups across the
room, engaged in witty banter with the men—all without a glance our way. Still
Had she forgotten us?
delivered an order to a nearby table, I asked for a menu in what I considered a
polite voice. Her curt reply, “In a FEW minutes, Miss,” stunned me. I can’t say
why, but we didn’t leave. And when she was ready, she brought our menus. I
asked for coffee, and we were prepared to order when she delivered it.
Although the food was probably good, I
barely tasted it. I excused myself as soon as I could and went outside to wait
while Terry paid the bill.
Having plenty of time to consider the
affront, I mused about our treatment.
Maybe I reminded her of someone who had
been unkind to her in the past.
Or every fifth customer might receive
I also thought of several pithy retorts I
could have used, but I’m glad now that I didn’t think of them at the time. Afterwards when we pressed on to explore the shops nearby, the folks
we encountered were friendly.
Still, it took me a couple of days to
shake off the effects of my encounter with Ms G. I suppose it was hurt
feelings, along with the disappointment that we couldn’t give the picture of me
standing beneath the sign bearing her name to our auntie without remembering
our bad experience.
There’s no denying the sting when we’re
ambushed by rude strangers. But it helps to remember that it’s usually not
about us. They’re acting out of their pain, frustration or fear.
reflection, I know Ms. G didn’t get up that morning with the idea of snubbing
me or anyone else. She was probably
stretched too thin and lost track of us but couldn’t acknowledge she might be
losing her ability to work the room seamlessly. And, yes, she might be a bit
proud of that Times endorsement. Who
The warmth of the other encounters that
day was like salve to my soul. In the future, I hope I remember to offer
kindness to those who have stumbled upon a hidden hornet’s nest or stepped on a
sand burr along life’s way.
G’s identity will remain hidden to protect her in her woundedness.)
Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Col. 3:12
Labels: Beaches, Dealing with Disappointment, Devotional, St. Thomas, Vacations