Speak Eagle

Panera Grace

It’s a long line at Panera.  I glance up at the menu.  Ah- there it is.  The Strawberry Poppyseed & Chicken salad.  I can taste it already.

I was ordering two to go.  One for me, and one for my friend Kristin who had graciously let my son play with her son for 3 days this week while I had to work.

It was a gift of grace- unmerited favor- toward me.  Grace.

She sweated at the park, froze in the pool, cooked mountains of mac n cheese, prayed as my son drove a little jeep like a wild man with her precious child in the passenger seat, and winced as the boys dumped out baskets of tinker toys and legos in the front room.

The salad was my meager way of saying “Thank You.”  Just a small token of gratitude for all of her sweating and freezing and cooking and praying and wincing.

The line is moving, so I prepare to order.  I fish through my purse.  And fish again.  And again.  Receipts, coupons, crayons, yoda action figure.  Where is my credit card?

No credit card, no money.  And no money, no salad.  No salad, no “thank you.” No thank you, no good friend who shows up and says, “How about I make us ham and cheese sandwiches with your ham and cheese?”

I fish a little more intensely.  Hey!  My checkbook!  That should work.

Once up at the register, the clerk asks, “What would you like today?”

I smile sheepishly.  “First, I forgot my credit card.  But I have my checkbook.  You do take checks, don’t you?”

She shakes her head.  “Nope.  We don’t.”

“Okay.”  My mind starts racing.  Let’s see…I could drive to the bank, cash a check, bring the cash back, eat lunch at 2…

She stops me.  “Hang on.”  She steps aside and whispers to another clerk.  He nods.  Then she’s back.  “What would you like?”

“Oh, great!  Two strawberry poppyseed chicken salads to go please.”  I see that the total is over $17 and start writing my check.

She repeats, “No, we don’t take checks.”

I’m confused. “But then how…”

The other clerk steps over, swipes a card that hangs on a lanyard around his neck.  “You’re all set!”

“Wait, you mean…Is this an IOU?  Like should I come back tomorrow and pay for it?”

She smiles.  “No, just come back and see us again.”

I’m incredulous.  All thumbs as I try to zip my purse.  I thank them profusely, my heart bubbling, my mind still racing, my face smiling uncontrollably.

I take my bag of salads, thank the Panera clerk again and head for Kristin’s house to say grace for grace and giggle over our free salads.

What?  When does this happen?  Like…never.

But wait…it reminds me of something.  What is it?  It’s a familiar feeling.  That same heart bubbling, mind racing, incredulous, uncontrollable smiling…

Yes!  That’s it!  Suddenly I remember…I once had a huge debt.  Even bigger than two salads.  And Someone paid it for me with Grace.

2 thoughts on “Panera Grace”

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.