Tonight I had the wonderful pleasure of having dinner with my new friend Debra from our growth group. I only met Debra a few weeks ago but, as with everyone in our small group, I feel like we’ve known each other for much longer. You see, it seems we are a group of sharers, and it’s one of the most liberating and rewarding experiences ever. Each person in our group has been so transparent and the honesty is sometimes overwhelming. We still have several weeks to go before we finish our study and I have no doubt that these relationships we are fostering will continue to grow well beyond our 10 week study.
I took advantage of a free Monday evening to invite Debra, who lives nearby, to meet up for dinner and some get-to-know-ya-better chit chat. Oh, and get-to-know-ya-better we did. It took us 2 hours just to eat our meal because we were both talking so much.
It was in the middle of one of my long-winded stories that the lady in the booth behind Debra decided to join us at our table. She literally grabbed her giant, almost empty, margarita glass and scooted right into the bench with Debra and began to recount pieces of the conversation we were just having. She explained how she and her husband had been listening to us talk and that she wanted to tell us ‘we were beautiful’. She explained that she had been listening to us talk about other people not in a bad way, but with love. She shared personal information with us that most definitely fell in to the TMI category and then went on to praise us for not sitting there gossiping about others. At some point Jesus became the topic of conversation and she squealed with drunken delight as she proceeded to proudly display her Jesus earrings that ‘she wears every day’. Then she strangely began lecturing us on how we should unconditionally love everyone, just like Jesus did. Then, in her next breath, she praised us for being good Christians and that the world would be a better place if there were more people like us. It felt like several hours ticked by although I’m sure it was only about 15 minutes. Every now and then she would compliment us and then lecture us some more on unconditional love. She sat and talked and shared and talked some more until her husband, ever so delicately, encouraged her to get up and leave. After a few more minutes of “Bless Yous” she had finished her margarita and they were gone.
When I say “God bless Debra” right now, I truly mean God bless her. She sat there and tolerated this strange, very slurry lady hugging on her, and never once expressed any discomfort. I sat there completely in shock and bewilderment. I had no idea what to say or do. Debra was a champ and is now my new hero. Honestly, I think I would have handled that situation in an entirely, less Godly way had I been with anyone else. She was the epitome of grace under pressure. And the best part was when the lady was gone she looked at me and said, “She was nice. And that was odd.” And that was it. We picked up our conversation exactly where we had left it before our interruption and I never once thought about the lady and what had just happened again.
Well, at least not until I got home. As I sat thinking about what my blog would be about tonight, I kept thinking about the new TV show, “GCB” and desperately wanted to post the show’s logo. Seriously, while that lady was praising us for being good Christians, my warped sense of humor kept replaying that show over and over in my brain. I soooo wanted to come home and post that “tonight I was a GCB” but, alas, my fear of Debra reading this and NOT appreciating the humor kept me from doing just that. I did just a few hours ago give her the link to this blog and invite her to read my post from yesterday, so it is very likely she’s at this very moment reading. (*waves* Hi Debra!)
So, I moved onto plan b. Since the topic of our conversation had been all about unconditional love, I hit the googles and started searching for images reflecting scripture about God’s unconditional love for us. And of course, the rabbit hole opened up and here I am 2 hours later with a completely different post flowing from my fingertips to this page. After reading verse after verse and several bible study lessons on what unconditional love truly means, I settled on this one. I won’t share the details of our conversations or the personal stories from the tipsy woman, but I found this particular verse to be very appropriate for our evening’s conversations.
Debra, if you are reading, I just want to say again how much I enjoyed our evening. Your insight and perspective are inspiring and enlightening. I look forward to many more talks about faith, God, struggles and Jesus’ love for us. I think I’m going to learn a lot from you.