There was just enough room to cross my legs under the table, but not enough to uncross them.  People squeezed into booths or waited patiently outside in the cold to order food.  Because we were in Maryland, crabmeat reigned supreme on the menu and was available for dine in, take out or shipping.

Yesterday, we passed on the 6 pound milkshake and the “super colossal Reuben“, selecting the uncommonly good 1/2 pound crab cake for lunch.  The smell from the deep fat fryer clung to my clothes, lingered in my hair and up my nostrils long into the evening, until I could shower and change, but we were back again for the renowned breakfast of homemade corned beef hash, crabmeat omelets and their 23-year-old tradition, a ritual that takes place at 8:30 on weekdays and 9:30 on weekends.

We watched the waitresses hoist large trays, dodge each other with practiced ease and chat freely with customers.  Each table conversation was  fair game for open discussion.  One wouldn’t come to Chick and Ruth’s Deli for a  private dinning experience.

At the table next to us, a soldier on leave from Afghanistan.  We learned from him that they were still flying the same helicopters that my husband used for missions in Viet Nam.  At the table next to him, a member of Tony Stewart’s pit crew, donning an official NASCAR  jacket.   A family to our right, celebrating a birthday, a woman with an injured eye joining in, a businessman in a suit, a person with torn clothes, someone who spoke with broken english.

We finished our breakfast and went to pay the bill.  The cashier informed us that the young soldier had taken care of it.  He left before we could thank him. The manager shook my husband’s hand and thanked him for his service to our country and then he turned, looked up, and placed his hand over his heart.  It was  9:30 and the loud-speaker crackled to life.  The diners, cooks, and waiters stopped, stood and faced the flag.  A still, reverent hush before,

“I pledge Allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and to the Republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with Liberty and Justice for all.”

the pledge of allegiance

And then some

You are suddenly alert, eyes wide open, mind clear, and you glance over at the clock.  You know before focusing that it is 3 o’clock.  It is always 3 o’clock when you find yourself in this state.  You think about getting up and walking around because you like the way the house feels in the middle of the night, but you remember that you have a million things to do in the morning and sleep is desirable for a productive day.

And then little nagging thoughts begin to intrude, slowly at first, then piling on.  “What can you do to help Judy who has been sick for over a week?   Don’t forget to call your mother, it’s been a couple of days now.  What are you going to wear to dinner with the new clients?  Did you pick up the cleaning?  Do you have shoes to go with the green dress?  Will it be cold?  Who should you call to help with the meeting?  Did you pay the dentist?  Will your grandson make a basket in the game.  How can you help build his self-esteem?  Why did his friend pick on him?  Will your daughter be safe in her new house?  Should you butt into an argument between your friends?  Is your son home yet?  Is he really doing as well as he seems?

But you really, really want to sleep and so you do what has worked time and time again.  You begin to pray and you consider the possibility that the reason you are up at this ridiculous hour is that perhaps you should pray.  And you talk and you listen and you offer up all things that are beyond your control.  Because of your vast experience, you are certain that you are not worrying.  Worry produces nothing and things that seem impossible in the middle of the night will seem doable in the morning.  You know that hundreds of times, God has provided.  Yes, God provides.  God provides, you think and you begin to settle into that truth.  The promise that has been true before, will be true again tomorrow.  God provides.

And then it comes.  Revelation.  The whisper in the night, the still small voice, the exclamation to a message you know so well.  “And then some!”  God provides… and then some.  You know that this addendum, “and then some,”  did not come from your own imagination, but from another source, and you receive the knowing of it.  You understand it, claim it,  and own it.  You express remorse in not acknowledging this profound truth before and you give thanks for a message of love and comfort in the dark.  And rest begins to slowly return.  Lovely rest is given unto you.  Sleep, rest, lovely rest……and then some.


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