The Walk Away Dinner and Drew’s New Walk

IMG_9535In early December, Drew and I did what we do best- love each other well when far from home, work, parenting and shared responsibilities. We’ve done this before- we were amazing in Austin when I went to officiate a wedding in 2011, we loved each other to the max in Michigan on our 10 year anniversary trip in 2014, and we are all-in with each other at Young Life All Staff conferences in 08 and 2016. In Miami, Drew was in conferences all day and I did some work and a lot of laying on a beach in awe and gratitude for getting to spend a December day that way- the latest installment in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo was a great beach read! At night we got to dine together, catch up and enjoy long conversations and the view.

We could not be more thankful for the effort GG put into making the week so great for our kids back home- as the substitute teacher and field trip aficionado, she took them to see eagles, gave them a candy shop to create a gingerbread house, and drove them all the way to Olathe for the Prairie Fire museum and rolled ice cream. Perhaps most precious, their assigned write ups of the week. Thank you Gayle!

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Back to the beach…after Drew’s conference ended Wednesday night, we were free to spend Thursday on our own exploring the town. We checked in our luggage and filled up our water bottles. We rented city bikes and rode from Mid-Beach to South Beach. Amazing street tacos became lunch before a ride across five bridges to downtown Miami. There we had a cocktail at an outdoor bar with a swing for a seat. We went to the Wynwood Art District with walls of street art that captured hope, inspired truth, and shared struggle. Building after building was covered in expression and beauty. Art Basel was beginning so many painters were in process as we strolled by in awe. IMG_9534 IMG_9532 IMG_9527

Finally, we took an Uber to the very end of South Beach and walked up the sand for a mile. We were hot and hungry and feeling a little grimy from the bikes and the beach and the downtown. Just off the beach, we saw a colorful restaurant and friendly attendant harking the specials and inviting us in. A $9 dinner option looked good to me so we asked for a table. After sitting there with waters and perusing the menu, which turns out only sold five chicken fingers or some bad pizza for $9, while most of the dishes cost $23 and looked like bad bar food, we looked at each other.

Drew said, “Do you want to eat this?” and I said, “Are you sad we sat down here?” I felt some allegiance to the friendly waitress who asked us our names, assured us all the food was “sooooo good” and had brought us water. But still, nothing looked or sounded good. Drew said, “We can eat here. It’s going to be expensive and not too good. Or we could leave.”

Leave?! Leave a table we sat at with sweaty beach walking bodies? Leave after we drank the waters?

Drew said, “We can leave. We can tip her for the waters and say we’ve changed our minds.”

Despite the social discomfort, I wanted out. It didn’t feel like a place we wanted to be. Why wouldn’t we just leave?

So we did, we stood up, addressed the waitress by name at the front of the restaurant and let her know we had changed our minds. We walked away.

Around the corner, feeling free and not at all regretful, I thanked Drew for helping us out of that one. To advocate for yourself instead of sitting idly by and enduring a situation you’d rather skip, is a good skill. We could change our minds. Realizing our first decision was a poor one, we reserved our right to take a different path.

The different path led us three blocks off the beach to a simple Mediterranean restaurant run by a hard working, kind and quiet woman, and her family. We sat on the sidewalk. Our plates of hummus, gyro meat, rice, and vegetables was authentically tasty. She brought us homemade baklava and a sincere smile with our check. The meal goes into the “Drew and Lindsey Amazing Dinners” Hall of Fame

I won’t forget the power of standing up and walking away from mediocre and expensive, to simple and sincere. What is loudest and easiest (good advertising and close to the beach!) is often a facade of what we truly hunger for, a piece of someone’s best work and a sidewalk seat for reflecting, conversing, and enjoying something real. IMG_9518

We ended our night in Miami and our trip with a 1.5 mile walk back to our bags and a cab for the airport. What you notice when you’re walking, you often miss under the roof and behind the glass of a car.

What you notice when you’re NOT walking, is how simple and essential, convenient and necessary it is to take steps.

Drew ruptured/completely tore his Achilles’s Tendon a week ago this morning. After two years of tension and nagging pain in his heels and decreased athletic movements, Drew did five months of physical therapy and deliberate stretching to get healing at the end of 2017. He was granted freedom from pain and a stamp of approval from the doctor that his tendons were ready to get back in action.

On January 4th, the action of an early morning basketball game, became a breaking point. His left Achilles tore down low in his ankle, in an explosion of connective tissues.

Drew cannot walk. Hasn’t walked since last Thursday. We are so lucky we get to borrow crutches and a kneeling cart. We can’t imagine the road of healing and rehab ahead. I’m so sad to lose my Camper walking partner and amazingly helpful husband. Drew is keeping his spirits up, perhaps more so than me, and has kept working hard at the office at at home- making me coffee, cooking our eggs, and tucking the kids in on floor 2!!!. The surgery is scheduled for Tuesday, January 16th. IMG_9680

Until Drew can walk well again, I’ll cherish the memories of our Miami walks, our restaurant walk away, and the years we’ve had to walk through hard times and amazing blessings together. With all that is within me,  I’ll cheer Drew on in his steps towards recovery on this winter walk of injury. IMG_9628

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