Last Saturday we decided to take a trip up to Sierra Madre to visit the family. Instead of going to one of the old stand-by's (like Subway, Chiles, etc) we went with more of a local establishment. The situation in the restuarant will be familair for those of us who get to deal with food allergies on a daily basis. Being in a new and unknown restaurant can make for an incredibly stressful and uneasy situation. In these situations, you have a few options. You could have prepared food for the meal ahead of time (which is always the best choice). You can run out and get one of the meals from fast-food restaurants that are predictably safe. Or you can hopefully explain your food allergy situation to someone new and hope that they understand the gravity and severity of it. On this rainy day in November…we chose the last choice.
The waitress comes to the table. After she takes the initialy drink order, you kindly explain the food allergy situation with her. She appears to understand and you examin the menu for what would appear to be the best choice knowing common ingredients that might be troublesome. The waitress takes the order of everyone at the table and then you carefully ask question regarding a potentially allergy-free item on the menu.
The waitress explains that the dish is free of (you can insert your allergy or allergies here). She runs off with your order and disappears into the kitchen to speak with the staff and now the trust begins.
After about 20 minutes, food is delivered to the table. Everyone begins to eat. A plate of innocent looking spaghetti is placed in front of our daughter along with a bowl of cut up fruit. We ask the waitress again about the existence of "milk" or "cheese" or anything else that might be milk-related. Again, she assures us that everything is fine. Again…we trust.
Our daughter jumps into the bowl of fruit and it is demolished within minutes. Over the next minutes our daughter slows her pace and just looks at her plate of food. She has not taken a bit and we sense that she is hesitant. She is seven and well aware of the negative consequences of eating the wrong thing. She too has heard all of the conversation up until this point…but is still not ready to try the plate of food. My wife leans over and asks our oldest if she would like to ask the waitress another time if the spaghetti is fine. She says she does and after several more minutes, we hail the waitress back over to our table.
Again we ask the waitress about the whether or not the food is safe and she kindly says she would check again and then disappears back into the kitchen. After several minutes, she appears again and insures us that there is absolutely no dairy in the spaghetti. Our daughter finally is able to trust and is able to eat some of the spaghetti.
At this point, I am not going to end this story with some horiffic situation of how we had to rush our daughter to the hospital after that lunch. We had no issues or problems during that meal. No hives. No reactions. No EpiPen. No trip to the hospital (alhtough secretly I knew there was a hospital exactly one mile down the street). Everything was fine….but there is definitely a huge element of trust. Trust for my wife and for me. And especially trust for my daughter.
"The Lord is my light and my salvation – whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life – of whom shall I be afraid?" Psalm 27:1
For most situations, parents are going to feel the most at ease when they have personally prepared a meal and make 100% sure that their child's food is safe. However…there are going to be those unavoidable situations where you may have to extend a level of "trust" to someone else. In those situations, just make sure that you look to Lord for your protection and safety.