Fast Food and Holy Encounters

 Ice-Cold Pepsi. May, 2011.

We Would Have Missed it at the Drive-Through Window
A few weekends ago we drove to San Diego. My co-grandma, Judi, had just returned from two months’ travels, the bulk of it spent with her daughter Crissy in Florida. Crissy, a Coast Guard wife, had delivered beautiful Annabelle Joy on April 8; her mother had joined her, as Crissy’s husband Joe would be home for only three days for his daughter’s birth. Judi, Crissy, Joe, and Annabelle had driven together back to California, because the young family was headed to Hawaii, Joe’s next duty station. 
Rich and I wanted to meet the new baby before the kids left for Hawaii, so we made plans to join them, along with my daughter Elaine, her husband Rob (Crissy’s big brother), their baby Sawyer and Elaine’s dad Jim, to attend…
….the roller derby
Time crept away as we visited at the house, cuddling babies and swapping stories, so we decided to make do with a fast-food meal before the roller derby bout. As we were eight adults and two infants, it was a multi-car trek. Each carload would stop along the way for dinner; we’d meet up again at the event.
Judi rode with Rich and me so we could catch up on the news of the past few months. We decided to eat inside, at a table, rather than juggling burgers and sodas while hurtling up the I-5 to the Del Mar Fairgrounds, site of the bout. 
As we waited for our order, Judi shared with me some kind words a friend of hers had offered about this blog. 
Judi’s encouraging like that.
From the corner of my eye I noticed a woman rise and approach our table.  “Excuse me. I didn’t mean to overhear,” she said, “but I’m staying by Sharp [hospital] and I’m wondering if you could tell me where I could find a church nearby. I attend Calvary Chapel back home in Florida.”
“Oh!” I replied. “It’s been years since I’ve lived in San Diego. Let’s see. Rich? Judi? Do you know a good church nearby?” 
After a moment’s discussion amongst ourselves, we realized we didn’t really know where to send the woman. “I bet if you ask at the information desk at Sharp, they’ll know,” I finally offered. “It’s a big hospital. I’m sure people ask all the time.”
[Anyone else would have whipped out a Smart Phone and pulled up the Find The Nearest Church app. I carry a Stupid Phone.]
She thanked us. “By the way,” I asked, “you said you’re at Sharp. Is someone ill?” 
“Yes,” she said. “A young man. He has a blood infection. They called and said I should come. So here I am…” her voice faded as she finished the words.  I wondered who the young man was. Her son? A nephew? 
I studied her as she spoke. She was neatly dressed, her hair carefully curled, lipstick straight. But I saw the fatigue of unplanned travel in her eyes, heard the anxiety lurking behind the calm steadiness of her voice.  
“We could pray together right now,” I heard myself say. 
“I’d like that. His name is Brandon.” 
“And what’s your name?”

“Gerda,” she told me.

I turned to Rich, intending to yield to his leadership in prayer. 
“You,” he said, quietly.
Gerda fumbled to set down her water bottle and we held hands there at the Formica table, which glared in the overlit fast-food restaurant. 
We bowed our heads. I listened as words poured through me, inviting God to be in the midst of Brandon’s illness and Gerda’s travel and the healing work of the doctors and nurses at the hospital. I heard Gerda whisper, “Yes, Lord” as the words flowed.
In the background I heard someone order a chocolate shake over the drive-through intercom. I smelled beef patties crackling on the grill and I thought of temple sacrifices.
When we had finished, Gerda squeezed my hand. I looked up and saw her eyes glistening. 
Standing behind her, a young man wearing a garish, minimum-wage uniform held our tray of burgers and fries. 
His eyes glistened, too.  
 26 When the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, that is the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify about Me, 27 and you will testify also, because you have been with Me from the beginning. 
John 15:26-27 (NASB) 

I’m linking with Ann Kroeker for her Food on Fridays carnival. Please visit there for a great collection of food-related posts. Recipes, menus, stories, photos–you never know what you’ll find there!


  1. What a feast! 🙂

  2. Yes, Deidra, it was! Thanks for coming by.

  3. It brought tears to my eyes. Thank you.

  4. Thank you, Red! I'll tell you–when God chooses to minister to one of His children through a wretch like me…it brings tears to my eyes too.

    Tears of wonder. And awe. And gratitude.

  5. Oh, Sheila…you were there. You slowed down, went inside, and there she was and there you were.

    And two or three were gathered…

  6. Some days the miracles come through showing up, hmmm?

    Thanks for reading, Ann!

  7. A Joyful Noise

    God's timing is perfect. So wonderful to be in that space of His time for His encounter with another of His children.

  8. A Joyful Noise

    You were certainly led by the Holy spirit to go inside, and also you prayed in the Spirit for that young boy. You may enjoy my post: Let the Fire Fall! at:

  9. Hazel,
    Thanks for stopping by and sharing!

  10. My eyes are glistening too. And, may I just say–I think I'm in love with your family? The way you all share…it's such a beautiful thing.

  11. Thank you, Laura! I'm in love with them too 🙂

Leave a Comment