Thursday, November 12, 2009

In Spite of Ourselves

I'm in Applebees tonight, enjoying a half-priced appetizer and some much-needed time with my very neglected writing tablet. Sitting across from me, at the next table, is a forty-something woman in a faux-fur, leopard print vest and a short jeans skirt, her hand on the arm of her cowboy-hat-and-boot-wearing companion. They've been deep in conversation since I sat down ten minutes ago.

As I was scribbling something in my tablet, they suddenly burst out into simultaneous laughter, causing me to start and look up from my (obviously) extremely deep thoughts. Shortly thereafter, the man got up and sort of tottered on his boot-heels to the bathroom. Ms. Wild Kingdom stayed at the table, staring out into nowhere, a giddy yet completely contented smile on her face. She glanced down at her hands, then back up absently at the window, her smile deepening as she thought about what had just happened. While he was gone, she played with her drink, ran her fingers through her hair, and straightened her vest, but her smile never faded.

I know exactly how she feels.

It's fascinating to watch two people do this dance. Sharing stories. Trying out witticisms. Leaning in to understand. Nodding appreciatively. Delighting in each other's laughter. I like you, do you like me?

And hoping against hope that the answer is yes.

With these two, at least, it seems obvious.

The funny thing is, these two people probably wouldn't fit this well with anyone else in the world. The woman obviously dressed up for this evening, but I wouldn't be caught dead in a furry, leopard-print vest. Maybe she's a little bit wild, a little bit challenging, and he's just the cowboy she needs to keep up with her and reign her in. Maybe he's stubborn, bucking stereotypes and challenging rules, and she has just the right amount of firecracker in her to match him and give him a run for his money. Maybe this is the first time in their lives that they've felt this way. Maybe neither of them ever imagined they'd find someone who fit with them this perfectly.

Maybe this woman's been waiting her whole life to wear her furry, leopard-print vest and stare into her drink grinning like an idiot while her date is in the bathroom at Applebees.

I know exactly how she feels.

I know this post isn't particularly funny, nor does it offer anything really profound about God, but it was right there in front of me tonight, so I felt like I had to write about it.

Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life. Proverbs 13:12

Love is like hope. And we keep on hoping in spite of ourselves. -Steve Dublanica, Waiter Rant