Ever since moving to Memphis five years ago an odd family tradition involving the Waffle House in Jasper, Georgia has developed. (Hence the picture.) For fifteen years we had hosted an increasingly large Christmas Eve party after church at Oakhurst Baptist. Many folks there have, let us say, complicated families, and we opened our house to those who needed a family place to land on the Eve, eat, drink and be merry. Now we try to catch the service on the way from Rock Hill to our cabin in north Georgia, but instead of having hundreds at own home, we throw our lot in with whoever happens to be in the Waffle House.
The “A-Team” is usually not covering Christmas Eve, so unusual–and always interesting– things happen. Once we were waited on by–I swear to God–Mary. The teen-age waitress was pregnant, unmarried and obviously ready to have the Prince of Peace right there in the corner booth at any moment. Last year, we ordered (eggs, eggs, eggs and, for me, a waffle). After a bit, the eggs and hash browns showed up. Waffle?
“Oh, I’ll be right back.”
The coffee was refilled twice as each time I commented how good a waffle would be.
The third time she noticed all by herself that I was waffle-less. I heard her exclaim (as she shuffled out of sight)…. “waffle, waffle waffle.”
You would not think one would need memory tricks to remember waffles in this restaurant, but some do.
And you wouldn’t think you’d need to remember what Jesus was about, either, but most of find it heard to keep track. And not just amid the ridiculous clutter of brain dead buying and selling that marks the month.
I write in the aftermath of the Waffle House, but also anointed by 10 inches of astonishing snow that has frozen us in place and riveted my attention.
Robert Farrar Capon wrote “The Astonished Heart”, the title inspired by Ecclesiasticus 43:17-18 (KJV): “As birds flying he scattereth the snow, and the falling down thereof is as the lighting of grasshoppers. The eye marvelleth at the beauty of the whitness thereof, and the heart is astonished at the raining of it.” (p.118)
Capon continues: “The Lover who restores the world in Christ is not the God of the philosophers or even the theologians (unless they are very astonishing theologians indeed). And that God is certainly not the god of the inner-harmony-through self-help gurus…. He runs the world from beginning to end by the radically astonishing device of romancing it into being out of nothing….. And when every last particle of creation–including you, me, the lamppost, and the church–ends up dead, gone, and at absolute zero, its heart will still leap up at the voice of the Beloved.” (p122)
“Waffle, waffle, waffle,” she muttered.
“Life, life, life,” I try to remember.
– Posted on the journey