Cheryl's Blog

Grace under pressure

Last week I shared my success with losing weight and improving my health and several people emailed to ask for more details that might be helpful. There’s so much to say that goes far beyond losing weight and I intend to share some of what I’ve learned in this blog over the next few weeks. So, stay tuned.

In the meantime, this week I’m rerunning a story about an experience I had with my friend Melissa while in Maine a few years back. It’s one way I remind myself to choose kindness in the face of unexpected, challenging circumstances.


It happened in an eat-in-the-rough restaurant in Bar Harbor, Maine. My friend Melissa and I had just ordered our meal when a boy walked into the room balancing a large tray on his shoulder covered with several plates of food. A family of five behind us was about to get their dinner.

As the boy stooped down to slide the tray onto the serving stand, a heaping plate of onion rings shifted and the whole tray went crashing to the floor.

Everyone in the restaurant stopped eating.

The family of five turned in their seats and gazed down at the onion rings, french fries, and fried clams that were strewn all over the deck. The poor busboy stood in the middle of the mess, looking stunned and embarrassed. That’s when it happened…

A waiter came rushing into the room – a young man who looked to be in his late twenties. He stopped at the entrance when he saw the food scattered about the young man’s feet. We all took a collective breath as we anticipated his next move.

He stood quietly for a few seconds assessing the damage, then knelt down and started cleaning up the mess.

“It’s okay,” he said in a calm, loving voice as he scraped food off the floor. “It happens to all of us.”

The busboy knelt down next to him to help pick up the plates.

“Please don’t feel bad,” the waiter continued as he playfully tousled the boy’s hair. “We all make mistakes. You’ll forget about this in no time.”

Melissa and I looked at each other, tears brimming in our eyes. A hushed silence filled the room. The waiter’s kindness was palpable. I’m sure everyone in the area felt it.

Now there’s a model for how to be a good human being, I said to Melissa as we resumed eating our meal. A beautiful lesson in choosing kindness under pressure.

I think about kindness and compassion a lot these days. With so much divisiveness in the air, I remind myself of the daily opportunities we have to contribute something good and helpful to others.

I also think about that young man at the restaurant and the example he set of grace under pressure, his impulse to choose kindness instead of overreacting. The next time I find myself in a tricky situation where I’m tempted to make a mountain out of a molehill, I’m going to remember that young man’s grace and kindness. He gives me hope for our future.

Have a beautiful day!




Photo by Ava Sol on Unsplash