Our lunch date with a drag queen.

"Wisdom, compassion, and courage are the three universally recognized moral qualities of men." 
My daughter attends a half day kindergarten. So, many days, I pick her up from school and we enjoy a Mommy/Daughter lunch date. And like most gals, we have our favorite eateries that we frequent when the men in our lives are detained by work and school.

A couple of weeks ago, we decided to have lunch at our most favorite place. It is a lovely, hometown place with great food and a pleasant atmosphere.

The waiter, whom we have had many times before, and had always proven wonderful, seated us and took our drink order.

Yes, he is effeminate. And yes, he seems to have taken an interest in me and my family when we patronize the restaurant. And yes, I know why.

Now, most of you, if you are a regular reader, know that I am opinionated. Yeah, I know, that's a hilarious understatement. However, what you may not know, is that in a town the size of our mine, a perfectly small and quaint oasis of Texas happiness, being opinionated is tricky. Honestly, it can be downright dangerous.

Since beginning my blog a little over a year ago, I have lost friends, been verbally attacked, unfriended on social media, talked about, laughed at and warned to stop. Sure, I knew there would be "haters" and those who dissented with my views, I just didn't realize I would enrage so many, so completely. 

But mine eyes have been opened.

Recently, I published a blog about a transgender boy in my conservative "neck of the woods" and his attempt to secure the usage of girls' public restrooms. 

My blog on the controversy was, hmmmm, divisive. To say the least. 

And when it was published nationally, well, suffice it to say, that many people's feelings, whether local or far away, were clear. 

Crystal. Freakin'. Clear.

Closer to home, around town, some people, normally quietly, were super supportive of my stance. While others viewed me as they always do, as "self-righteous", "hateful", "intolerant" and a "bigot". Oh, how I tire of their generic name calling.

So, on this day, with my young daughter sitting innocently next to me, I was slightly unprepared but not at all surprised when our waiter ask to visit with us while we waited for our food. I was somewhat shocked when he pulled out his phone and proceeded to show us pictures of him dressed in drag. I was somewhat perplexed when he offered up details of his relational preferences in the presence of my oblivious, sweet daughter. When he spoke of falling in love with the right man, my daughter's brown eyes widen. When he discussed feeling beautiful in drag and on stage, her expression was confused.

Obviously, this young man had read my recent my blog. 

And what, I'm sure many of you are wondering, was my response to this encounter? 

Yes, there was a part of me that was uncomfortable. Yes, there was a part of me that was angry this was happening in front of my innocent child. Yeah, there was a part of my flesh that was really, very pissed.

Yes, there was a part of me that wanted to lash out at him.

But I didn't. My response was to love him. Completely love him.

You see, when he would depart our table to refill someone else's drink, I would reassure my precious child that I would explain everything to her later. And when he delivered our entrees and returned to the kitchen to refill her Sprite, we prayed over our lunch and included him in our prayers. And when he seated himself and continued testing and provoking me, I simply smiled, looked kindly into his lovely, lost eyes and told him, "that although he may feel beautiful dressed as a woman, I think God made him very handsome as a man". 

With that, he softened. He stopped trying to get a rise from me and simply began talking. He became more respectful and careful about what he said and how.

And I was grateful. 

As my daughter and I ate our delicious lunch, he camped at our table. We talked about love and marriage. I said it was hard, but worth it. We discussed his plans for his future and I encouraged him to continue his education. We discussed my children and my husband. He told me about his mom and his friends and his ex-boyfriend. But he whispered the facts this time.

As we finished our meal, he brought us our ticket and I told him I had enjoyed our visit. 

And then, what happened next, reaffirmed everything in my heart. This young man, so lost and so looking for something, came around the table and hugged me. Kindly. Genuinely. He hugged me tightly.

When we climbed into the car, I began to have an age appropriate conversation with my sweet girl. I explained that the LORD used our lunch date to accomplish great things. I explained that the Enemy is cunning and deceptive and tricks people into believing they are something they are not. I explained that sometimes people believe that God made a mistake. I explained that people, like our new friend, the waiter, are controlled by things that happened to them in their innocence. I told her that although those people are wrong, it is our duty and our privilege to love them and be kind to them. I told her that we are responsible for planting seeds and that eventually, God will reap the harvest. I told her that our waiter was wrong to live in the way he was currently but that we all sin and fall short of the glory of God. I told her that we are supposed to speak truth and love. I told her we must always be confident in God's truths and be courageous to stand to firm in them. 

Lovingly stand but stand firm all the same.

And that night, after many more questions about our lunch date, we laid down to say her nighttime prayers. I could tell she was still mulling over the midday occurrences. And finally, her big brown eyes filled with tears and she said, "Mommy, can I pray for our new friend, our waiter"? 

"Yes, baby girl. Yes, you sure can."

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