A sweet friend took me out on the town last night. We dined at the only fancy-ish restaurant in our small city, swooning over Greek Bruschetta and perfectly roasted artichokes before scurrying to the theater to support friends in a local production of Rent.
Another friend met us at the show where our three mouths hung agape over the showcase of local talent. (“Wow, that girl can WAIL! Where do these people COME from? Do they LIVE here?”) After the performance, we chatted in the street beside my friend’s ginormous SUV, wishing there was somewhere we could grab coffee.
“There’s always McDonald’s,” someone offered timidly, more like a question than a suggestion. . .
We rolled into Mickey-D’s at 10:15, settling in between the giggling high school crowd in the back and the cat-vibes lady with the pink sequined scarf up front.
Four hours later, we were still in the booth. Our conversation had rambled through the territories of foster care, intercessory prayer, seasonal depression, religion-based shame, Kindergarten crushes, self-love, gluten farts, and the most absorbent mom-bladder pantyliner.
For the first time ever in our talking trio, there were no interruptions. Our nine combined kiddos were tucked into bed by their daddies. There were no piano lessons or soccer practices rushing us out the door, no pressures to get dinner on the table or tackle book report projects. We were just girls around a table— girls with so much we’d been waiting to say.
We shared secrets about careers and callings. We confessed feelings of shame and unworthiness. We unpacked parenting fears and struggles, every head nodding beneath the red glass pendulum light.
We laughed until our faces hurt. (One or more of us may have been grateful for those pantyliners. . .) We looked into one another’s eyes until we could hold them open no longer, then we giggled all the way home about the noises coming from my friend’s minivan as we bombed through the deep snow of my unplowed road, rolling in at bar-close-time from Mickey D’s.
I tell you, the whole thing was sacred. When we create space with our sisters and enter in expectantly, any setting can become sacred.
When we strive to listen and understand one another, even a laminate fast-food table can become an altar for laying down some heavy burdens.
When we allow the scary, messy parts of ourselves to be seen by people who love us anyway, a wipe-clean vinyl booth can prove to be one heck of a confessional.
When we speak truth to one another and call forth the gifts with which we were lovingly created, we might find ourselves renewed and restored right beneath the Golden Arches.
Call your friends. Or call the ones who might become your friends. Get to the coffee shop or the coffee table or on over to Mickey D’s. Circle up and let the conversation go where it needs to go. Linger until you’re off the hook for bedtime — until your eyeballs are bloodshot and your spouses have long ago texted their good nights.
Create space, then allow it to be filled in by the good, the hard, the real and the holy. Seek the grace that happens anywhere.
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*Disclaimer: I am in no way affiliated with McDonald’s Fast Food Company. The Golden Arches are a trademark of McDonald’s.
*Featured image via Wikimedia Commons