Yesterday was Mother's Day, which for my wife, Ann, always means getting in some good exercise and downing at least a little chocolate. The first desire was fulfilled by 100 plus laps in the gym pool and the second with a later jaunt to the frozen yogurt shop. And, of course, since moms don't want to cook on their big day, and no one is clamoring for dad's culinary delights, a local eatery was bound to find our presence. With gift card in hand, Chili's got the nod.
There was nothing unusual about our meal: ordering, waiting, and eating, with a few attempts by the kids to entertain each other and ourselves. Not long after we sat down, a Latino family of six occupied the table next to us. Though we couldn't understand a word that came from their direction, it was clear that they were enjoying the occasion and one another's company. As our meal progressed, Ann (quite out of the blue) declared, "What I would like for Mother's Day is to pay for that family's dinner."
Such a request certainly wasn't out of character for my giving wife, but not much was immediately said about her request. When the tab came for our meal, however, I asked our young African-American waiter if I could have the bill for the other table as well. He was a bit surprised but soon came back with their check. After running the credit card, he returned with this inquiry: "Would you mind asking me what made you do this?" For a moment, I paused, but then said with a shy grin, "Love does." It was clear he didn't quite know how to interpret that answer, so I went on. "The way I look at it, God is good enough to give us a lot of things we don't deserve, and I figure we ought to pass it on." He smiled and we left the restaurant.
A little visit to Ann's own mother was next on the agenda, followed by a chocolate fix at Orange Leaf. Our road home would take us right past the same Chili's, so I asked if anyone wanted to run inside to ask our waiter how the gift was taken. Ann quickly volunteered and in no time we found ourselves back at Chili's for the second time.
It took a few minutes for Ann to locate the young man and inquire about the outcome of her Mother's Day gift. He said he had a hard time explaining to the family what had been done for them and in the end just declared, "Think of it as angels looking out for you." I like that thought. I am not sure all that angels do. But it doesn't seem too far off to think of them as bringing messages of God's grace and goodness, whether that message is wrapped up in swaddling clothes in a manager or in a meal at Chili's.
Besides, perhaps it wasn't us who played the role of angels, maybe it was the family that received our gift. Hebrews 13:2 states: "Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by doing so people have entertained angels without knowing it." Now, that's a pretty good Mother's Day--a day we get to act like angels and perhaps entertain a few along the way.