bonus salads [a story, not a recipe]

He is audacious, that man I married.  Bold, and he breathes faith like I breathe oxygen.

He is generous, that God I belong to.  Astounding and gracious, and there is absolutely no One like Him.

A few weeks ago we were flying home from Argentina.  On our way back to Kansas City after a two splendid weeks of a relaxing honeymoon.  We had just been exploring all over Buenos Aires, considered the “Paris of South America”… exploring  at Iguazu Falls, one of the world’s most expansive and exquisite set of waterfalls… and then there was the glorious exploring of each other’s bodies: AyeeYaYay!  …I’ll leave it at that 😉

So there we were, crammed in tiny airplane seats with backpacks full of yerba mate, hearts full of stories to tell, and a camera full of photos to prove our adventures.  Stale air was blasting through the vent, and the attendant pushed his teeming food cart in our direction.  Fortunately, this trip we were wise enough to request vegetarian meals from the airlines ahead of time.  I’ve flown enough international flights to know that “Mystery Vegetables” are usually less sketchy than “Mystery Meat.”

Within minutes I was devouring my tiny salad with intensity.  Let me preface the rest of this story by informing you that Argentina is The Land of Steak.  The biggest, juiciest steaks you’ve ever laid eyes on.  And empanadas.  Those deep-fried mini-pies full of meat or mozzarella in all sorts of tasty combinations. And pizza and pasta.  The yummiest, cheesiest, finest-crafted pizzas and pastas I’ve tasted in my lifetime.  AND dulce de leche.  That highly addicting, sticky, delicious caramel-like goo that fills croissants and cookies in every little bakery on every little corner of every town in Argentina.  (I do not exaggerate with this statement.)  Needless to say our tongues were happy honeymoon campers… but after two weeks of this kind of fare, our bodies (that normally thrive on daily green smoothies and salads) were seriously protesting.

Myles eyed my empty little salad carton as he continued to eat his own salad – as usual, more methodically than I ever eat.  “Would you like another salad?” he asked me sweetly.  He knows when I make salads at home they are easily ten times as large.  Its not uncommon for either of us to be munching on greens from the biggest mixing bowls in the house.  I’m pretty sure I scoffed at his thoughtful offer.  I realize that it is not very nice for a wife to scoff when her husband asks a kind question, but at two weeks in, I am still learning how to be a nice wife.  Even though his offer was sweet, in my mind it was also ridiculous.  I know enough about airline flights to know that they carry exactly one meal per passenger.  I was quite certain they did not have a stack of salads just chilling in the back waiting to be eaten.  It would never even occur to me to ask for another salad.

Besides, I rarely ever ask for more.  I don’t like to ask for extra favors, and I cringe at the thought of trying to get something free, and I will barely ever ask to be the exception to the rule.  I have a general supposition that there is not enough to go around, that it is up to me to figure things out, and if something isn’t working out in my favor I should probably just grin and bear it.

Myles is really quite the opposite.  He always assumes there is more to be had, and he will gladly and freely ask for it.  If he likes the bread and garlic sauce at a restaurant, he will rave about it to the waiter and shamelessly ask for more.  They have plenty back there in the kitchen, why shouldn’t we enjoy more?  He has no qualms about asking people to give him stuff for free.  He assumes some passing tourists is dying to take at least 5 photos of us beside a monument.  He is convinced there is always some exception to the rules, and if there hasn’t been one before, he can be the guy to make the first one.  He is undaunted by gruff people, grumpy people, and awkward scenarios.  Yes, I married him.  And yes, I am very glad I did.

So despite my second-salad-scoffing, my husband flashes a charming smile to the gentleman serving us drinks and politely asked it if was at all possible, could we please have another salad.  The attendant’s response was nicer than mine but nearly as doubtful.  My memory is a little foggy, but I’m pretty sure I shook my head at Myles’ audacity, made some smart remark, and continued on with my pathetic dinner fairly convinced that my lame pasta with carrots was as good as it was gonna get.

Our conversation prior to dinner was about our future- about having enough money for grad school, about jobs, about our dreams for starting business that fund non-profit justice endeavors that transform cities and prisoner populations.  So as we picked at our food, we continued our conversation, laced with a mix of doubt and faith.  Will there be enough money?  Will we be able to stay debt-free?  Do we have what it takes to actually do what we dream of?

All of a sudden a hand emerged from somewhere behind our heads holding two more cartons of salad.

And it was just one of those moments.  The kind of moment where you just sit stunned because you don’t know what to say.  And then the words start tumbling out and you just can’t seem to stop stammering in astonishment.  The kind of moment where you know you clearly just got proven wrong, but it was all so brilliant you don’t even mind admitting it.

I realize that receiving two bonus salads on an international flight may not seem like a big deal.  In all reality its not.  When I consider all the incredible gifts we’ve received in the last few months, tiny freeby salads are definitely at the bottom of the list in terms of value.

But the timing.  Now that is what killed me.  It was the precise moment in which our conversation was demanding faith and courage that this little thing my husband had confidently asked for appeared.  God’s Presence showed up for me right then.  He didn’t have to say a word.  His gesture to me said everything.

Ask.

Believe.

Have courage.

Be bold.

There is more than enough.

I am happy to give.

I’m giving you resources to change the world.

We gratefully devouring our second round of salads – me rather humbly, Myles perhaps a little less humbly. 🙂  After dinner, while the rest of the plane slept, we stayed up late into the night typing all of our crazy ideas and dreams into a document on our laptop.

We got home from Argentina, and you know what?  I started asking for things.  I asked the Lord for money to give our friends who are adopting.  I asked for more money than we could realistically give away.  You know what?  That money showed up after just a week of asking!  I asked the Lord to help us cut down on our food budget.  That week my best friend put us in charge of her garden while she is away, and I started getting more free food at work than I ever have before.  Then I called the bed and breakfast we stayed at on our wedding night and asked them to MAKE AN EXCEPTION just for me to surprise Myles by taking him for breakfast there on our one -month anniversary.  Four phone calls later, they totally let me do it.  It was a delicious breakfast, but Myles knows that his real gift that day was that I actually asked for a special favor.

He is kind, that God I belong to.  Patient and generous.  Astounding and gracious, and there is absolutely no One like Him.

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3 thoughts on “bonus salads [a story, not a recipe]

  1. i can’t believe no one has commented yet on this gem of a story. myles bragged to me about your blog and he was definitely right to do so. he knows how much i appreciate good writing. you sing through your words lindsay.

    what a beautiful moment! i look forward to more entries and stories of His astounding love.

  2. oh this is lovely, lindsay!! I enjoy your writing so much. thanks for sharing, and it’s good to know more of myles in this post. what a fun guy! great guy. good guy. loved hanging with you two today. three cheers to being soon three hours away! 🙂

  3. Lindsay – haven’t seen you since college but I stumbled on your blog the other day (thanks fb!) and wanted to tell you I how much I needed to read it. God used your words to tell me exactly what I needed to hear..thanks for letting Him speak through you. Blessings 🙂

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