lenten journal: acceptance speech


    Tonight we only had two people come into the restaurant. I’m beyond trying to figure out how all the different things on the schedules of the Duke students affect when they come to dinner, but tonight left me puzzled. Ramon and I got a good bit of prep work done for the week ahead (I’m assuming more than two will show up the other nights this week) and I got a chance to get to know our new server who started just a few nights ago.

    I came home from work in time to watch the Academy Awards with Ginger. Something about the juxtaposition of the three of us doing our job in an empty room at the restaurant and the actors and directors and other technical artists being given Oscars for their accomplishments struck me. Most jobs don’t give awards, or give time to say thanks to one another.

    It must be difficult to be nominated because you have to go to the awards prepared to both win and lose. You have to think about who you would thank and what you would say if you won and you have to just sit there if you don’t. How can you truly prepare for both moments?

    I wrote something down

    on the off chance that I won
    to say thanks to all the people
    who got me to this point:
    family, friends, colleagues, cabbies

    you drove me, pushed me, loved me,
    challenged me, called me, fought me,
    encouraged me, found me, loved me
    some more. You really thought I

    could do it. You saw things in me
    I wasn’t even looking for, aired up
    my dreams, gave wings to my wonder,
    and set me free to fly. Thank you

    is what I want to say, but I
    didn’t win. What I wrote will
    stay here in my pocket. May I
    say, “Thank you,” anyway?



    1. Saturday night we had dinner out at a place we go to a few times a year. The meal was outstanding, surprising in light of the fact that the last couple of times the food did not meet our expectations. I mentioned to the waitress how wonderful it was, and that we’d had disappointing experiences a few months ago.

      She came back a while later and told me I’d made someone’s day! We got someone’s first meal ever–before that night he’d been a dishwasher for a long time and had just been promoted. He was very proud to hear the praise she passed on. We also filled out a comment card so the head of the kitchen and the manager will know about our great dinner.

      It’s so easy to give deserved praise, and yet we forget too often to express our appreciation.

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