In the last few weeks, these blogs have discussed topics about restaurants, vacations, travel, and offered suggestions about dealing with difficult situations. In my discussions and your comments, I am brought back to some basic principles that I want to discuss today.
For many years, there was a picture in my kitchen of a cardinal on a tree branch, The caption read, “An act of love will tip the balance” and I knew that was true.
And Father Bill Hultberg, who was pastor at Caron foundation for many years, opened his talks with “Whatever the problem, love is the answer.”
And the on page 84, the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous says, “Love and tolerance of others is our code.”
Well, come on now Theresa, how does this relate to getting the food I need in a restaurant?
When the waiter or waitress comes to your table and introduces himself, look him in the eye and say, “Hello, and use his/her name (I will call him Barry) then say something like, “I’m sorry to question you, Barry, but I have a lot of food allergies. How is the baked chicken made? Is it cooked in a sauce?” and “May I have an extra plate when you bring our meal, please, Barry?” And when the food comes with gravy on top, “O Barry I am so afraid to eat this with my allergies. Could you get me one without gravy please?” And when you are handing him your check, be sure to say, “Thank you, Barry. You made our meal so pleasant”. (Unless he didn’t!”)
And a good friend adds this next part: But if he did, when you leave, tip him appropriately and pull the manager or hostess aside and tell them what a great job he did. And next time you go to that restaurant, ask for Barry’s table. And thank him for having space for you and tell him you asked for him. We promise that every waitperson in the restaurant will soon know about this, and if Barry is not there, you will get excellent service anyway.
I learned this many years ago when my children were in highchairs. We went to our favorite restaurant. And when we got to the Maitre D, two of the waitresses were having a discussion with him across the restaurant floor (in another language, but I knew it was about us) and I said to him,” I am so sorry, do they not want to serve us because my children leave too much of a mess?” He said, “No, Ma’am, they both want to serve you because you treat them nicely and you tip them well.” All the waitresses have grown to know us now.
I started this blog with “An act of love may tip the balance.” And “Whatever the problem, love is the answer” And “Love and tolerance of others is our code.”
Let these three sentences affect every area of your recovery from your addiction and other problems. Speak kindly to the frightened young man or woman who calls you for help. Help set out the chairs or set up the Zoom for the meetings, yes. But also, speak kindly to everyone whom you encounter in the day, in person or on the phone or in writing. Find a way to act with love and respect.
And most importantly, speak kindly to yourself and treat your body, mind, and spirit with respect. Refuse to eat foods that hurt the body, mind, or spirit. You may no longer tell yourself that you are fat, stupid, ugly and a failure. Open yourself to seeking and finding whatever help you need to solve your problems with food and bring yourself to a place of joy and freedom. And speaking to yourself with courtesy and respect will help you do that.
And if there are other people in your brain who say “You should….” Understand that they are not you and find out who these voices represent before deciding whether to follow their direction or not.
Thanks for listening to me rant today; I promise we will get more specific about foods next week. Meanwhile I need to share one more opinion. Philadelphia has passed 300 in the number of gun violence deaths this year. Shooting someone dead cannot be classified as acting with love and tolerance. Please join me in prayer that we may find other ways to practice love and tolerance and tip the balance.
Blessings to you,