For those of you who read yesterdays post, I’m sure that Brett and I sounded rather magnanimous hosting a couple of Chinese boys for second semester and giving up a few hours of our last Sunday on break to go out to eat with a couple of people who speak halting English.
Now ordinarily going out to eat should be a fun occasion, but I can’t eat MSG and Brett gets the world’s worst stomach ache if he eats out for dinner. Add to that Brett had a headache and we would need to run over to the school to pick up a school van that had a tire with a slow leak, and needed to be gassed up in 20 degree weather. Brett and I are both introverts so meeting and greeting at the end of the day didn’t sound like fun. But, we pulled it together, gassed up the van, filled the tire with air, and pulled up in front of the hotel just a few minutes late. Brett guided the van into a parking space, and braving the chilly weather we walked through the double doors to do our duty.
It took all of about ten seconds for us to feel like complete idiots. The first thing our guest did was pull out gifts she had brought from China for everyone, even Aspen. I was so appalled at my attitude just moments before I could have crawled under the couch in the hotel lobby. We chatted a bit and then we all piled into the van. Having barely settled into our seats the mom pulled out another gift for us!
Since they couldn’t tell us where or what they wanted to eat we took them to Cracker Barrel since it has a wide selection of foods on the menu. Unfortunately, I have to admit that, despite deciding it was a good place for them, we had ulterior motives: I could order a plain baked potato and salad, it is Aspens favorite place to eat, and it is also one of Brett’s favorite places.
The hostess seated us right next to the huge fireplace which had a toasty warm fire burning brightly. Despite the language barrier we had a really great time talking with the mom and her son. The mom and Aspen hit it off and before we left the restaurant she bought Aspen another gift!
Not to be outdone by all the gift giving, Brett conjured up his deep south roots and bought our new Mandarin friends a Southern delicacy: Goo-goo Clusters and presented them as gifts. They did look a little confused, so Brett assured them they were for human consumption…I hope they enjoyed them.
God gives us gold, but many times we turn around and give Him Goo-goo Clusters. I’m thankful God knows how to turn our Goo-goo Clusters into something He can use for His glory.
Another thought that keeps hitting me is this: What would this story have been like if we had gone the extra mile? In our defense, we were asked last-minute to take them out to eat so planning ahead was a little difficult. But, if we had gone the extra mile we would have certainly started out with a better attitude about doing something for someone else. In a better frame of mind we may have remembered that the Chinese culture exchanges gifts when meeting. We did have a couple of hours and we could have used part of it to shop for a gift. Instead we used the two hours dreading going out.
What would our lives look like if we went the extra mile? What would my health look like? My relationships? My spiritual life? I challenge you to go the extra mile in the next year.