Archive for August, 2010

Enthralled by God

I awoke to a stunning sunrise. I’m a bit of a shutter bug so I wearily reached for my phone to snap a shot. I wanted to capture it. I wanted to share it.

I walked around the house, taking pics from different angles. I wonder if this is what great model photography is like: if you get a beautiful enough subject, I guess she could look incredible even if she was yawning! Well, this sunrise would have taken my breadth away from the toilet.
After about twenty minutes of being enamored, I finally started to sit down to work. And then, I finally noticed it… the noise.
We live near an interstate and the traffic at sunrise is the beginning of  the morning rush hour. We also have an extremely active freight train, complete with whistle and horn, that passes within a mile of our house. As I write, I can see a very long line of rail cars crossing the Hudson River.
But on this fine morning, I didn’t hear either. All my senses could take in was the beauty of the sky. It was as if the sense of sight overruled the sense of hearing. In fact, it took over for all of the other senses as well.
There are a lot of distracting noises and voices that can deaden our sense of God’s beauty, greatness and care for us. Sometimes it comes from the devil in the form of a negative thought about others or ourselves or a prideful notion. Other times circumstances cloud the heavens.
But whether it’s through a sunrise, a child, a lover, a friend, a hero – when we get glimpses of God in our lives, there should be some sort of automatic-shut-off of everything else. We’ll want to share it so we should reach for our spiritual cameras – even if He’s just yawning.

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I’ll never forget reading what a famous actor once said: “The most important thing they never taught me in acting school was how to wait tables.”

At the time I had read that, I was trying to launch a consulting company and writing career and I decided that there was a great deal of truth in that… that we sometimes have to purchase the future by doing something in the present that is humbling or temporary.
I had been in consulting and had often gone out to eat with clients, my family and alone. It was very humbling to be on the other side of that now. I’ll never forget how humbling. An old neighbor of mine sat at my table and in front of a large, extremely wealthy and powerful table of lobbyists (my old career, no less), exclaimed, “This is Bobby LaCosta. I used to have a crush on him back in New Jersey.” She meant no harm, but I, in fact, was the one who was crushed.
I learned that it was hard, even at my more advanced age (late 20’s!), to find a waiter’s position. I got hired and fired at a fancy French restaurant – they had me doing pots and pans. I got flashbacks of doing the same thing when I was 14! When I finally got a job, the owner almost canned me, but his wife interceded for me.
I got the hang of waiting on tables – I called it my “Master’s Degree in Prioritization” and I began taking notes on checks to write a book on waiting on tables – which are still in my files. I also learned to respect good service people and how hard the job was and that as Ann Landers once wrote, “most earn their tips.”
Waiting on tables takes you away from your family at nights and that was difficult. I remember waiting on a family with a little girl and something hit me in the gut because I missed my little Guinevere who was 3 or 4 at the time. I used to love tucking her in. I went into the restaurant’s bathroom, ashamed as I was, and wept and wept and when I came out, I was sure everyone had heard me.
Although my consulting company/writing career didn’t take off at that time, I continued to wait on tables. I eventually took a full-time position, but decided that its salary couldn’t support us. It was moonlighting this time and back to waiting on tables.
Desperate for some meaning in my career, I had secured permission to use my boss’s computer above the restaurant. I couldn’t afford my own computer. I began to write midnight columns for newspapers. But even that eventually fizzled due to daytime job commitments.
I must have gotten pretty good at waiting on tables, however, as two huge restaurant reviews mentioned me by name – one theorized that I must be a law student and the other bannered a headline that read, “The Best Little Restaurant in Albany.”
But even after that, I would place a new setting after new setting after new settings on the table and literally ask God, “How long must I wait on tables?” Month after month, year after year, He was patiently teaching me how to wait on Him.

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