Tag Archives: Jesus

Jesus Walked Into the Waffle House

Between sexual harassment and racial discrimination, it sometimes seems as if our nation is tearing itself apart at the seams. I wonder if we stopped and looked at the other person’s point of view if we’d see how these things happen—not planned violence or gangs or murder or anything truly evil, but the moments of passion that humans get carried away by. The moments when our failings all add up and someone suffers for it.

I wrote this story in response to several news stories. It might not be popular among those who think every choice they make is the right one, but try to see our world as Jesus, who—according to every Bible story and every preacher—loves us all, would. (For another Jesus story, you could try Jesus Walked Into Planned Parenthood.)

Jesus Walked Into the Waffle House

By Michelle Garren Flye

On the night of the local prom, Jesus walked into the Waffle House. He didn’t want waffles or pancakes. He smelled the frying bacon and shook his head. Hadn’t His Father warned them about that?

He smiled at the hostess, an older white woman who worked the night shift so she could take care of her daughter’s two fatherless children during the day. The hostess didn’t smile back, but Jesus knew it was because the baby had skipped his nap that afternoon and she was simply too tired to smile. As He walked past her, however, her head lifted and she straightened her shoulders. As if she felt a surge of strength to carry on.

He moved peacefully into the dining room where a trucker sipped coffee and thought about his family at home. His wife was pregnant and her father had just gotten sick. The trucker worried that the stress would be too much for her. Jesus laid a hand on the man’s shoulder. “She’ll be all right.” The trucker looked up and nodded. He had faith but sometimes it was sorely tested.

The waitress was taking a break. Her feet hurt. She’d already worked six hours when the manager asked her to work another shift. But she needed the money. She had tuition to pay and no one to help her. She wanted nothing more than to graduate and really get her life in order.

Jesus leaned on the counter beside her. The manager came over. “There’s some prom kids outside. We’re likely to have a rough couple hours of it.” The manager saw prom kids every year at this time. Sometimes drunk or high—and always rough and rude—they often came to the Waffle House for a late night snack after prom. The very thought of them exhausted him. He shook his head and muttered, “Two a.m.? Those kids should be home.”

Jesus knew he couldn’t stop what was going to happen. He could see it now. The manager’s daughter had been raped once and he felt protective of the young waitress who was just trying to make her life better. When the young black man dressed in his prom tux complained about the food to the waitress, the manager would interfere. The black man, who was still young enough to think every choice he made was the right one, would reply, rude and indignant that he had been challenged. The trucker, still worried about his wife, and the hostess, tired and thinking of her daughter and grandchildren, would call the police at the first signs of trouble, long before anyone could calm down and think about what they were doing.

And when the police arrived, a pissed off cop would see a sobbing young white waitress and an angry black boy surrounded by the patrons and employees of the Waffle House, all arguing. And the cop would direct his own anger—born of years of these kinds of nuisance calls—at the boy. The boy whose grandmother was so proud of him for his last report card, and whose teachers had promised he would do great things. The boy who wanted to go to college and get an engineering degree, but who had made a bad choice by smoking a joint behind the gym at the prom and now felt invincible.

Jesus could only watch as the cop proved he wasn’t.

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Jesus Walked Into Planned Parenthood

The other day as conservatives chanted “USA!” and “Lock her up!” as if they were interchangeable sentiments, I found myself in a very dark place wishing very bad things to happen to all of them. I pulled myself out of that place as best I could by writing this:

Jesus walked into Planned Parenthood. He paused at the desk. The receptionist, tired and counting the minutes until she could get out of the tiny, antiseptic-smelling room with its buzz of computers mixing with the sniffles and throat-clearings of the waiting room, looked up, her expression guarded out of habit. “Can I help you?”

“No.” Jesus smiled at her and she thought about the scent of dandelions. She’d loved dandelions when she was a child. She remembered the clump of golden dandelions she’d spotted by the bus stop that morning. Tonight, when she left, she would stop and smell them. Maybe she’d pick one and take it on the bus with her. The thought made her happy because dandelions smelled like hope and she very seldom felt hope anymore.

Jesus reached through the small opening in the glass window—the one she used to pass clipboards back and forth to patients—and touched her hand. “I’m just looking for a friend,” He said before turning to the waiting room.

Jesus found her in the waiting room. It was late, and she was the last one there. A middle-aged woman holding her purse on her lap and staring into the distance as if she could imagine herself somewhere else for some other purpose. Jesus sat next to her and took her hand. “She’s all right.”

As if she had come back from somewhere very far away, the woman looked at Him. She heaved a breath, raspy, sounding like she hadn’t breathed in a long time. “Is she?”

Jesus thought of the woman’s daughter undergoing a procedure in one of the back rooms that would take away the baby conceived in an ill-timed relationship. He thought of the frightened boy who’d refused to take responsibility, whose parents had taken him away instead of facing what had happened. He knew the young girl had agonized about it. He’d heard her prayers. He’d heard her father’s anger, felt the words fall like blows on the girl’s heart. If you have an abortion don’t ever come back to my house.

But in the end, full of fear instead of hope, she’d gone to the clinic. And her mother had taken her, in spite of her own convictions, too worried about losing her daughter to obey her husband. Both of them had spent the past few hours imploring Him for forgiveness.

“My husband says it’s an unforgivable sin. That she’ll be locked out of heaven forever.” The woman’s voice quavered, imploring a contradiction.

Jesus stood, and the woman’s eyes filled with wonder. For a moment, when He smiled at her, she heard again her daughter’s bell-like laughter tinkling through spring air while she ran and played in the golden sunshine. Jesus bent and kissed her forehead. “There is no sin I will not forgive if I am asked in time.”

He left the clinic and paused outside. He saw the man standing on the other side of the road. He was a man who prayed daily, almost hourly, but Jesus could no longer hear him, though from this distance He could see the man’s lips moving. Jesus knew what He’d said to the woman in the waiting room was true. But He wondered—if this man ever asked His pardon—would He hear the prayer?

His heart heavy, He walked away from the clinic as the man entered it. He heard the explosion, and as those He passed turned to see what had happened, He spotted a clump of dandelions growing between the cracks of the sidewalk.

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