Sitting in a small café in Manila, Philippines, a thought invaded the corridors of my mind with such terrific force I had to pay attention to it. Thoughts are usually a welcomed visitor to my mind even though they are few and far between. I take what I can get when I can get it. That is the philosophy of my life.
I had been eating all kinds of exotic food for about four days in a variety of cafés. For the most part, reading the menu was out of the question. In one café, none of the waiters spoke English, at least not any kind of English I could understand. To be fair, on the other side of the issue, I did not speak Filipino at all. I did have a list of Filipino words to use but when I use them, nobody understood what I was saying.
You would think whenever a person goes to a foreign country they would somehow master some kind of greeting in that foreign language. Not that I did not try, for I did. However, I had mangled their language so bad it was insulting trying to use it.
Many times, I ordered things I did not know exactly what I was ordering. And, consequently, I ate things I did not know what I was eating. Overall, I must confess the whole experience was rather exciting. Being in some exotic location, eating exotic food was something I do not do very often.
It was at a little café around the corner from my hotel that I saw something on the menu I recognized. I did not recognize the words, but there was a little picture of a bowl of ice cream.
Now, I do not care where I am, I am always in the mood for ice cream. Usually when I am out to eat I have accompanying me the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage who serves as a general overseer of my menu ordering. Particularly, when we are finished with the main course and the time comes for dessert she pipes up rather quickly, "We don't need any dessert tonight."
Unfortunately, her "we," includes Yours Truly. I can never understand how she knows that I do not need dessert some night. That she does not need dessert may be all right, but how can she speak for me? It must be what they call women's intuition.
Up to this point during my trip in the Philippines, I had been ordering my meals as though sitting right next to me was my wife. When the waiter would come and inquire about the dessert for the evening, I simply would say, "We don't need any dessert tonight."
The waiter could see I was sitting and eating by myself and just figured that I was some crazy American.
It was about Thursday when this orphan thought penetrated my mind. I will share it with you in the strictest of confidence. Please, do not repeat this to anyone, especially, you know who.
The thought was simply this; my wife was not here to deter me from ordering dessert. The more I played with this thought the more it intrigued me. What would happen if I ordered dessert?
When I ordered my meal, I noticed a little picture of what looked like an ice cream sundae. Maybe I had not had ice cream for so long that I exaggerated the attractiveness of that picture. As I got closer to finishing the main course, the picture of the ice cream sundae loomed larger and larger in my mind.
Finally, the waiter came and inquired as to my dessert desires for the evening. And boy, did I have desires for dessert that evening.
Casually, as to throw off any suspicion that what I was about to do bordered on the illegal, at least in my home, I picked up the menu and pointed to the ice cream sundae picture.
"Ah, yes," the waiter said with a big smile on his face. "That very good choice."
I do not know if it was just me or what, but all of a sudden, I could understand what he was saying. So, I ordered a strawberry ice cream sundae.
Immediately, my conscience began to bother me. Here I was halfway around the world ordering ice cream sundae and giving no thought to my good wife at home. A man can only take so much of his conscience bothering him when it comes to things relating to his wife.
As the waiter was about to leave I called him back.
"Sir," I said, "would you also bring a chocolate ice cream sundae for my wife."
He looked at me. Looked around the table I was setting at. Then looked back at me and said, "Oh, you crazy American."
When I finished eating my strawberry ice cream sundae, I solemnly dedicated my eating the chocolate ice cream sundae to my wife.
Eating in quaint cafés halfway around the world has some wonderful advantages. However, no matter where I am, I can always cherish fond thoughts concerning my wife.
The apostle Paul wrote, "Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as it is fit in the Lord. Husbands, love your wives, and be not bitter against them" (Colossians 3:18-19 KJV).
As husbands and wives, our greatest delight in the Lord is dedicating ourselves one to another.
The Rev. James L. Snyder is pastor of the Family of God Fellowship, 1471 Pine Road, Ocala, FL 34472. He lives with his wife, Martha, in