Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Do You Have Anything Non-Alcoholic?

Last month, I did a really big favor for one of the lawyers I work for, and his way of saying thanks to me was to buy me a $100 gift certificate to a really nice restaurant. So last night I took Göran out to dinner at this really nice restaurant to celebrate his birthday with him. I loved that I could treat him to this without having to worry about what we could order and not order and how much it would cost us. This one was on my rich lawyer friend!

So the waitress came to the table and asked us if we wanted to start off with something to drink. She handed us a wine list. Göran looked it over and he ordered a chardonnay. Then, something miraculous occurred.

Ever since I stopped drinking alcohol (in March 2006), this has become a bone of contention between me and Göran. He has frequently complained bitterly that one of the simple pleasures of our relationship used to be that we could enjoy a good glass of wine together. Every time there's been a situation where he had an opportunity to drink, and I did not join him, this generated a complaint. And I didn't expect last night to be any different.

But without batting an eye Göran looked up at the waitress and, in the sweetest voice, said, "Do you have anything non-alcoholic?"

"We have a sparkling blood orange juice," she replied.

He looked at me and said, "Oh, that sounds really good."

"That does sound good," I said, holding the side of my chair so I would not fall off from shock. "Yes," I said to the waitress, "I'll have a sparkling blood orange juice."

"You see," Göran said to the waitress, "My partner does not drink alcohol."

I know many of you are reading this, and you are thinking this is a ridiculous thing. Some of you think I'm a dolt for making a big deal out of this. (Believe me, I've taken my share of flak from ex- and non-Mormon friends who think I'm silly to live the Word of Wisdom.) And others of you are wondering how it could be a big deal that Göran has finally accepted this. But it is a big deal! It almost brings tears to my eyes now, thinking about it. This kind of acceptance is huge. It is wonderful how, moment by moment, day by day, love does its transformative, healing work in us, and shapes us in the image of Christ.

That was the sweetest tasting glass of sparkling blood orange juice I've ever had.


MoHoHawaii said...

You guys sound like a very loving couple. I've noticed that in good relationships (gay, straight, whatever), the partners go the extra mile to give what the other needs.

J G-W said...

Of the two of us I think Göran has always been the more generous and giving. I think I'm getting better. Being a good Mormon has helped me with that! :-)

Göran struggled with the wine thing because A) he didn't like the idea of me reaffiliating with the Mormon Church, and it was a reminder of that and B) he saw it as a kind of legalism, which he objected to on philosophical and theological grounds. (I agree with him on the concern about legalism. As should be fairly self-evident, though, I don't live the Word of Wisdom because I feel I have to. I live it as a sign of faith and as a kind of spiritual discipline.)

So Göran's gesture yesterday was a huge gift to me, because it was a clear demonstration that he is evolving toward becoming much more supportive of me in my faith as a Mormon.

Scot said...

That’s very sweet.

I find myself in a similar position. I used to drink about a beer a night; and Rob was the occasional drinker. Somewhere through a busy autumn, though, I just stopped, but for no reason other than having too much work to do after dinner. I know I now drink far less than even my Bishop uncle, but that’s not saying much :-). Rob doesn’t care, as he hardly drinks anyway, but I have found this odd new pressure from others to sip a drink for social conventions. For example, there was no way I was getting out of a beer with my advisor after my defense, and because I’ve no moral opinion on having a beer I did, but it was more to be polite than celebrate. I wonder now how or if this affects Muslims and Mormons in their careers in this culture.

On second thought, Rob has actually often wished I’d start drinking coffee with him in the morning, but, by the tastes I’ve had, it’s baffling to me why anyone would.

J G-W said...

My mother, being a Finn, was a life-long coffee drinker. After she joined the Mormon Church, she switched to Pero. So as kids, we grew up enjoying this wonderful, not-very-coffee-like (except how it looks) drink. I still love the stuff and think coffee tastes like roasted battery acid. But I can't get Göran to drink Pero with me!!!

Eleanor's (and X's) Papa said...

I never tasted coffee or alcohol till I was 25, and when I finally tried them they were as gross as they'd previously seemed to my sensitive Mormon nose.

Then of course I discovered that I only objected to BAD coffee and alcohol, and have figured out what I like (Orval ale, zins, americanos...)

Chacun a son gout. But what is about Mormons, Puritans, and other temperance zealots that has so much trouble letting others be? And will I ever get over my smug contempt of smokers?