I meant to post this story a few days ago and forgot. The story keeps coming back to my mind, so here it is. Years ago, I was invited to a dinner with a group of people. As we gathered around our table, we noticed another large party was being seated behind us.
As the people made their way to the table, a man motioned for the hostess to speak with him. Soon the hostess was removing a chair from the end of the table. Then she rolled a Larry chair on wheels to the spot where the prior chair was removed.
What’s a Larry chair? It’s a chair for obese people and has an open concept with no armbars. Soon all the eyes at all the tables turned to look at the person the Larry chair was for. The woman had dark hair, a pretty smile, and clearly, by my calculations weighed over 300 pounds.
I made sure to look her in the eye and smile as widely as possible. I kept thinking “don’t look at her body.” I could tell she was uncomfortable, but she smiled back bigger than ever. Genuine smiles have a way of doing that.
As my group looked over the menu and talked, several made comments or whispered concerning the woman’s appearance.
When our food came, we noticed their food was arriving simultaneously with ours. Many wanted to know what this lady would order. Would it be a salad or a steak or?
Someone said, wow, she got a huge cheeseburger and onion rings. I glanced a bit out of the corner of my eye and turned back around.
After making small talk and getting to know some of the new people in our group, several began to pay their tabs and leave. As I turned to say goodbye, I saw a substantial hot fudge cake with ice cream on a tray. Yes, delivered to the Larry chair.
Later, after I had put on my coat and paid my tab, I noticed the woman with black hair was smiling at me and motioning me over to her table.
I was a tad shocked. This was during my thin years when I could still wear size five jeans, but thought I was still fat.
“She said, “have a seat.”
So, I pulled up a chair and said “hello.”
I wondered what she wanted to tell me. Thoughts were coming to my mind. Was I wrong about the smile we exchanged? Did she think I was laughing at her?
I finally said, “The hot fudge cake looks delicious.”
She said, “Oh, honey, it is!” Then she began to laugh out loud. Since I didn’t know her from Adam, I began to chuckle with her.
She said, “I see all the folks gawking at me and watching me eat, but they don’t know that I’m celebrating because I HAVE LOST 100 POUNDS. And all my friends who have been encouraging me wanted to take me out to dinner. I haven’t been out of my house for almost a year due to my weight except to exercise or walk.” She raised her arms and began to point to all the people around the table, “these are my friends and they have been great encouragers.” I smiled and waved at them.
“That is amazing, I said, and I am so blessed that you have friends like this. Friends that want you to be healthier. How special.”
She said, “Oh, they are a hoot. See that young good-looking guy on the end? I nodded. Well, honey he’s one of my trainers. She roared with laughter again.
I was so happy for her. I hugged her and told her congratulations.
As I walked off, I said, “Enjoy your cake. You deserve a treat and a night out to celebrate!”
I’ll never forget that lady, but what if I told you we are all her? Struggling with something seen or unseen. Some addiction, grief, or trauma or puffed-up bread that needs removed. Sometimes we look bad in public to others when we are working are hardest. Sometimes we look good in public but have issues erupting in private.
Trying to get rid of leaven is hard. Others may still see us as fleshly, but we are the only ones who know the work we’ve done. Sometimes our close friends do, and on occasion they may even celebrate with us.
“God sees not as man looks; for man looks at the outward appearance, but God looks at the heart.” (I Samuel 16:7).
As we prepare for Passover, remember everyone has a story. Everyone has a pantry. Some pantries are bare and need one loaf of bread to feed hungry children. Sometimes the heart is the main item needing cleansing, searching, and circumcising.
Shake the toaster if you get angry. Find the crumbs that are hiding in the strangest of places. Open the word and eat from His Table. We actually lose weight when His peace washes over us.
There is a King coming. . .
“And He will delight in the fear of the LORD.
He will not judge by what His eyes see,
and He will not decide by what His ears hear
but with righteousness He will judge the poor,
and with equity He will decide for the lowly of the earth.
He will strike the earth with the rod of His mouth
and slay the wicked with the breath of His lips.
Righteousness will be the belt around His hips,
and faithfulness the sash around His waist” (Isaiah 11:3-5, BSB).
If you enjoyed this story, you might enjoy my novel Walter the Homeless Man: