Genma Speaks

Entrepreneur/ Writer/ Radio-Host

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

When a Book Club Meeting Turns Into a Testament to The Goodness of God

A few weeks ago, Dinner and Discussion Book Club met to discuss the The Husband's Secret by Liane Moriarty. Normally, we chose a restaurant that has a connection with the book. This time, we met at The Cookery, a cafe on 12th South with a unique mission to train homeless men culinary skills. It was by coincidence the owner, Brett Swayn, is from Australia, the backdrop for the book.

The book was riveting and full of twists and turns for me. The reviews from the group ranged from kinda of crazy to too confusing to I am headed home and getting ready to deal with family, I am going to give everyone a copy of this book  to it gets better the more you read it to I loved it. Our comments and thoughts about the book were better than reading the book.

Cathy came with a trinket box with questions, that was truly a Pandora box. After ordering our food, I was the first to open the box and read aloud this gem of a question:
When Cecilia finds the letter addressed to her from her husband, "To be opened only in the event of my death," she is tormented by the ethics of opening it. Do you agree with her ultimate decision? What would you have done?
Without hesitation, I answered, "I am opening any letter that is marked do not open only in event of my death on the spot!" The Pandora box filled with questions was a creative idea and kept us entertained throughout the evening. One great question after another, helped us dig deeper into the book and had several of us peeling back layers to our personalities. The atmosphere of the restaurant said "come as you are" and it spite of being in the open, the evening was intimate. There was a steady flow of entrees that we devoured from the menu as we made our way to the end of the book. I even had the chef to prepare a salad Genma's way, a version of one of the menu items that was prepared my way on my birthday.

In June, I had quietly celebrated my birthday with Joyce and the cooks at the restaurant. With the restaurant to ourselves, they went above and beyond to make the evening special for me. After being serenaded by two of the best cooks in town on my birthday, I was in love with the restaurant and learned their stories and the concept behind the restaurant. I have returned every week since my birthday. The Cookery was the perfect venue for our book club.

At our book club outing, unbeknown to us, our carefree banter was being observed by a young man in the restaurant. When he got up to leave, he stopped at a our table and said he enjoyed knowing we were "having a great time on your ladies night out." He even suggested a book for us to read. He told us he was raised by his grandmother and went on to share that his life had been interrupted by bad choices. But he was determined to do the right thing. He then laid several 20s on the table and told us to enjoy our night on him because we reminded him of his grandmother and her friends.


Totally stunned by his actions, the book loving mother hens began to question him about what was the next chapter for him. As he revealed more about his life, his mother and grandmother, I could not help but snap photos. I sensed something special was happening and I wanted to capture the moment. Cathy, forever a teacher, asked him about pursing an education. Joyce,Veronica, Diane, and Anassa encouraged him to stay focused and inquired about his employment.

I asked for his number to text him the photos and he asked if I would share his photos with his mother as he gave me both numbers. Cathy invited him to church and told him he was welcome to join her and her husband. While she was giving locations and times for her church, I said he was welcome to join me, we meet at one address:) The money that he gave so graciously to us was shared with the cook (my Sweet James) and the waitress.

Anassa, Genma Joyce, Diane, Quortez, Veronica, and Cathy
Our book club meeting was one I did not want to end. We stayed in the parking lot for another twenty minutes talking about any and every thing. As I drove home, I kept thinking how our time at the restaurant was preparing me spiritually and mentally for the 4th of July weekend with family in Mississippi. Our meeting at The Cookery was a glaring testament to the Goodness of God; He readily gives us what we need, when we need it, in the most unexpected way.

On Sunday morning, I got a texted photo and these words:

The Ramseys with Quortez

" Look who came to Mt. Zion today. Quortez. He found an usher to help him find me. He brought his sister. God uses us for his purposes. Can't wait to see what He wants us to do with this young man."

With tears in my eyes, I could not help but shout, "Ain't God good!"

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