My late morning drive to the local Denny’s restaurant just down the hill from my digs is a highlight in my otherwise boring life! It was not the reasonably priced menu that drew me. There is something more compelling for me.

It is hidden on the back of one of the several menus; listed under the $6 items! The product, more than the price is what begins my salivation. It is French Toast! As long as I can remember, I’ve preferred French Toast over pancakes. And, coupled with eggs, it begins to beckon me to the platter. The particular menu item lists French Toast, eggs, hash browns and bacon or sausage.

For some time, partly driven by a desire for a relatively healthy lifestyle, I’ve substituted hash browns with fruit. I recently added a couple of slices of avocado.

Today my tuning fork of taste composed the instruments of this symphony comprising only French Toast, scrambled eggs, two slices of bacon and appropriately ripened avocado slices.

As I intermittently sipped my Keurig, home-brewed coffee, adulterated with two ounces of hazelnut creamer, and moved from one moist morsel to the next and back again, the end was in sight as the sweet syrup drowned the French toasty dessert remaining on the plate. All gone! Sigh!

Ahhhhhh… breakfast at Denny’s!

Lest you think my life is somewhat pathetic, as I have ascribed to myself many times, think about these elements in the above scenario.

I navigated this short journey alone. I did not go because someone else wanted to go. I did not simply go because I was hungry. I did not travel that 7% downgrade slope just to get out of the house. I went because I had a hankering for my French Toast breakfast. This scenario perfectly pictures “individuation,” the emotionally healthy awareness of knowing who you are and are not, what you like and what you do not like, and, most importantly, possessing an evolving, implemented grasp of your own boundaries.

You might say, “So what does French Toast have to do with boundaries!?” Simply this: the only true control we have in our lives is our own decisions. When those decisions are based on a healthy expression of who and how we are, then a measure of contentment is experienced in knowing that it doesn’t matter what someone else thinks about our choices.

In the past, I have been influenced by those that thought Denny’s restaurants are only a last resort destination for weary travelers who can’t find other places to eat. I may have felt self-conscious eating alone, with the now familiar inquiry from the host or hostess, “JUST one today?” And in past passionate reactions I’ve responded, “What do you mean, ‘JUST one?’ ”

Being in a state of singleness for almost fifteen years, after having been married for thirty, leaves the stark stigma of not quite fitting in. And being involved intimately with Christian single leadership groups, it showcases the bewildering blindness of church leadership in addressing the more than one-half of the population that is single in the Bay Area. It almost seems to me that they are looking at the few that have made it into the net, rather than the many who are yet to be harvested. A vision sees the harvest more than the current catch.

But I digress! That’s what I do masterfully!

And my conclusion is that as we come to understand this concept more and more, couples will be less judgmental toward singles and singles will feel less marginalized and judged by so-called “together” entities. Perhaps it is time for the church to cease compartmentalizing and commence compassionalizing (my made-up word)!

Let us all be single-minded. Because we can have our French Toast and eat it too!

“Don’t pick on people, jump on their failures, criticize their faults— unless, of course, you want the same treatment. That critical spirit has a way of boomeranging. It’s easy to see a smudge on your neighbor’s face and be oblivious to the ugly sneer on your own. Do you have the nerve to say, ‘Let me wash your face for you,’ when your own face is distorted by contempt? It’s this whole traveling road-show mentality all over again, playing a holier-than-thou part instead of just living your part. Wipe that ugly sneer off your own face, and you might be fit to offer a washcloth to your neighbor. Matthew 7:1-5, The Message

Breakfast at Denny’s

I’m a Human Being, not a Human Doing!

“Look what I did; see my work!”
       Pride, though present, doubts still lurk.
“You can do it,” many said.
       “Just step out; just go ahead.”
“I can’t do it, it won’t be.”
       Used to be my doubter’s plea.
Still, inside, my deep desire,
       Wanting so to soar much higher.
“You can do it. Yes, you can!”
       Masked discreetly as my fan.
“Wow, your talents, they’re so great!
       Come on go; it just can’t wait!”
Fear and terror filled my night,

       Desperate now to get it “right.”
Stepping out, I faltered then,

       Proving that I could not “win.”
I had failed to reach the goal.
       Falling short, I crushed my soul.
I’d believed I’m what I “do;”
Missed the truth about my “who.”
I’d believed it must be so;

       That I’m only what I “know.”
Will they ever really see!
       See the one authentic “me!”

“Oh, it’s clear now; stop your fight.
       For a while, you lost your sight.
Let me tell you, make you see,

       This is what you’re meant to be.”
Soon the voices rose so loud;
       Could be heard amidst the crowd.
Telling clearly what they thought.
       From their life, they proudly taught.
Soon the revelation came:

        “I’m the one; they’re not to blame.
I must find just who I am,

       Spill the truth–break down the dam.”
Open now, I sensed the thrill;
       I had swallowed freedom’s pill!

Soon my soul had taken flight;

       Blown by winds to heady heights.
Reaching out for one to hear;
       Trying hard to keep their ear.

I had crossed the heart’s divide;
       My whole soul had opened wide.

Soon the lectures swiftly came;

       I must surely be to blame.

I must “flee the youthful lust,”

       Be assured, “in God we trust.”
“Continuity’s worth the fight;
       And you clearly know what’s “right.”
You committed for your life;
       Even though it’s full of strife.”

Then the voices faded fast;

       Leaving only shadows cast.
’Til a friend who broached no doubt;

       Stayed until I worked it out.
Not a word of judgment came;
       No advice, no casting blame.
Waiting for God’s truth to birth;
       Showing what a true friend’s worth.
Love myself is what I’ve learned;

       Not through praises that I’ve earned.
Life’s not in my “know” and “do.”
       It’s authentic in my “who.”

Written while in search of self.

“Then went king David in, and sat 
before the Lord, and he said, ‘who
 am I, O Lord God?’ ” 2 Samuel 7:18

Authored August 6, 1999; edited March 8, 2018

The “Who” vs. the “Do”

New Beginnings

Decisions I’ve made are now all in the past;
      And now His good guidance has my future cast.
I’ll rise from my knees; leave my pleas of regret;
      His Word clearly says He’s not done with me yet.
And I am not trapped by my foibles and fear,
      So now I will follow the pathway made clear!
It’s not my “perfection” He’s longing to see;
      But simply with Him in communion to “be.”