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February 01, 2003

To use the fork or two hands? - that is the question!


I find myself feeling a little low this 1st day of Feb. So I'm posting a story that I tell when I speak in churches or schools - its a story of an event that impacted my life incredibly - in fact it was an event that I credit with turning my life around. Its also a story that brings a smile to my face. I hope you enjoy it...

I entered the cafe in the hope of finding a small quiet place to sit, relax and read whilst enjoying a cappuccino. Caf�s have always been a favourite place for me. Not only do they give a place to escape the busyness of life but they meet some deep dark need within me to be cool and sophisticated. Don't ask me where it comes from, I guess deep down I'm a yuppie at heart!

I stood at the counter waiting to order when I heard my name being quietly called. "Darren�.Darren" At first I thought it was my imagination and ignored the impulse to see from where it emanated. However it persisted. A small pleading voice coming from the end of the counter. Looking around to see if anyone had noticed and to check no one was watching me ( I had to keep up the 'cool' front!) I stole a quick glance in the direction of the calling.

Anyone else would have seen nothing out of the ordinary, but to me it was obvious from where the voice came. There at the end of the counter stood the one that now had me mesmerised. My heart leapt as I moved forwards, captivated by the beauty.

Encased in a glass cabinet was the biggest, richest, moist looking dark chocolate mud cake that I'd ever seen! It took everything within me to stop from regressing to a primitive neanderthal state as I stood there gaping at this work of art before me. This was no ordinary cake.

Mud cake and I go way back. We are one. Where there is mud cake there is Darren. I had to possess this cake. I was an integral part of its destiny. It was as if I had found a long hoped for soul mate. I was going internally berserk. The excitement was huge, yet I contained it. One must be sophisticated after all.

I ordered my mud cake and cappuccino and found a table by the window, barely able to hide my excitement.

I waited. The hustle and bustle of the caf� went unnoticed as I strained to see if the waiter was on his way. After what seemed like an eternity he appeared before, me cappuccino and cake in hand. He placed it before me with a wry smile on his face. It was better than I'd expected. The wedge of cake before me was massive, bigger by far than any I'd seen or hope to receive again. Not only was it big, it was accompanied by a generous serving of fluffy whipped cream.

I waited for the waiter's retreat, all the time trying to seem aloof and unaffected by the splendour before me. I had to remain 'cool'. He was gone, the time had come.

With trembling hand I took the small fork I found along side the cake and gently sliced a small, moist sliver of chocolate delight, dipped it in the cream and lifted it to my lips.

I've always considered my taste buds to be pets, some say a dog is mans best friend, I beg to differ. They were in for a treat! They leapt with excitement and showed their appreciation with a flood of pleasure filling my mouth and radiating into my body. This was sensational!

The fork followed the same path time and time again, not too fast, one did not want to draw too much attention to oneself. I had an image to protect here!

It was after the initial waves of euphoria began to subside that I began to realise that my restraint in partaking of my mud cake was a wise move. I was not alone in my part of the cafe. The table directly in front of me was occupied. There before me sat two people. the elder of the two was a woman, probably in her early thirties. Beside her sat a young girl, probably around three, blond, extremely cute, wearing a little pink frock and visibly excited.

You know how children are when they are excited, they fidget, they look around, they pull at the sleeve of adults around them and they bounce. Boy oh boy was this lil girl bouncing! Something very, very cool was about to happen.

The bouncing began to increase in ferocity with the approach of the waiter, he came it seemed, bearing the object of this little girls desires. A latte and piece of carrot cake was placed before the woman. The milkshake placed before the little girl was largely ignored as she strained, on her knees now, to see what else the waiter had for her. There it was. The little girls eyes widened in shock as before her was placed another piece of Mud cake. She was soooo excited!

It was the same sized piece as the one that had been put before me just minutes before, but in front of this tiny girl it seemed huge, it was bigger than her head! The whipped cream alone would have filled both her cupped hands and not only that, but much to my jealous disgust she had two scoops of vanilla ice cream on the side!

Electricity now seemed to be passing through this young child as she surveyed the enormous pile of cake, cream and ice cream before her. Held back momentarily by her mother until the waiter had left them alone the anticipation grew. I knew what was to come, I had just been there, this girl was about to be in heaven!

I could not take my eyes of this picture. The moment had come. As I continued to nibble at my cake, trying so hard to control my excitement for fear of seeming uncool I watched this child DEVOUR her cake. There was no fork. Instead she reached out to this huge piece cake, dumped a handful of cream and another of ice cream on top of it and then proceeded to pick it up with both hands and shove as much of it into her mouth as possible in one go! It was not pretty. There was chocolate instantaneously spread across her face from one side to the other, there was cream in her hair and their was saliva and goop all down her little dress. She fully entered into the experience of eating this cake, no holding back.

She had eyes only for the cake. She didn't care if she was being watched, she didn't care if she was messy, she WAS in heaven. The joy in her face was unmistakable, this was an intensely passionate moment.

As I sat there, fork in hand, nibbling at my cake I felt convicted. Personally I feel it was a 'God moment'. Like he was whispering into my ears with the picture before me.

'Darren�..you see that little girl? You see how she is going after that cake? THAT is the way I want you to go after me.'

Too often I know I go through life with a fork in hand. Trying to be cool, trying to be sophisticated, worried about how I look, concerned with what others might say and as a result nibbling at life and nibbling at faith.

That day a child gave me insight into another way of living, one I'm sure I once partook in, one I now strive to embrace. She reminded me of the words of Jesus who encouraged his followers to enter into life like a child. Kids have passion, they express themselves, they are single minded, they don't mind what others think, they are unashamed! Sometimes being a child is messy, sometimes others do gawk and point, but in the midst of it all I've found a way of life that I'd not give up for anything. It is the way of two hands and no fork!

Darren Rowse 2003

Posted by Darren at February 1, 2003 02:09 PM
Comments

What a beautiful story...definitely a God moment like you say. How true...sometimes we are so worried about being vulnerable, we hold out on God, and He's what matters. Thanks for sharing.

Posted by: Lynne at April 12, 2003 03:47 AM
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