Hungry, hungry, hungry!
Ellen and I had wandered around Springfield, Illinois, trekking to historical spots and seeing where Abraham Lincoln lived and worked. We’d walked in Lincoln’s footsteps tracing his home-to-work path in reverse. We started the morning at the Lincoln-Herndon Law Office then headed southeast searching for his house.
We exhausted every minute of our two-hour parking limit walking to and from those sites. Fortunately I had convinced Ellen to fill up the parking meter with quarters. She figured an hour. I figured two to be safe. For one of the few times in our married lives, I made the wiser decision.
Let me repeat that historic statement in a more succinct manner. I was right. Boy, that felt odd. I was right. Better. I was right. Now that feels downright wonderful, a bit strange still but wonderful nonetheless.
So let’s get on with the story. After two hours of going to and fro, I was ready to beeline it to the nearest restaurant. Ellen agreed and off we went in the direction of Lincoln-Herndon again. A row of restaurants stretched just a few doors west of the law office.
We looked at the menus on three establishments, decided on one, changed our minds, walked into another, changed our minds again, and decided on a third. The decision stuck and we settled into a booth at GianFranco’s.
We ordered our meal, split it, and enjoyed some great Italian cooking. While we ate, our waitress talked about how wonderful another dish tasted, one we hadn’t ordered. She called to someone behind the counter then brought us a sample of their alfredo sauce.
The owner, a nice Sicilian grandmother, walked up with a better sample of the actual dish, chicken with alfredo sauce and fettuccini. Yeah! I know. You’re probably drooling about this time. I can hear the bathroom scales groaning in the background.
I said to Ellen, “If we lived in Springfield, I’d love to be known as one of the regulars here.”
Good food mixed with passionate people who make you feel right at home. Ah, a leak!
When I think of HOME, I envision certain elements that keep me on the JOURNEY. I have written, “Every heart hungers for HOME,” but HOME is more than simply a place to stay, a final destination at the end of the JOURNEY.
GianFranco’s became for me a bucket to catch a heavenly leak and it reminded me of some of those elements.
First, I found joy in the moment. From the music to the food to the people, I enjoyed my lunch-time leak.
Second, I found welcome. For a small chunk of time, I was surrounded by people who smiled and laughed and shared. From the beautiful woman who sat across from me to the gracious waitress who served us to the generous Sicilian grandmother, I received acceptance and affirmation.
Third, I found surprising delight. I expected a meal. I hoped it would be delicious. The tasty food and the warm, welcoming environment surpassed my expectations by a ton. Surprise! Delight! Those words capture a small bit of my experience.
Multiply that a hundredfold and you still fall short of HOME. Knowing that, believing that, I continue the JOURNEY. My desire is that others, perhaps you, my friend, would join me as we travel to see the ONE who gives joy in the JOURNEY and who will one day bid us, “Welcome HOME.”
QUESTION: Where have you experienced a leak of joy, surprise, and delight? Who makes you feel welcomed?