As you know, Passover began at sundown last night. Our dining hall serves dishes that are kosher for Passover all through the holiday, but you have to go to the head of the line and ask for it specifically: "Can I have the Passover dish, please?" Then you have to wait there until they bring it out -- usually a 5 minute wait.
And during that wait, people keep asking if they can help you, or if you're waiting in line, and you have to kinda shift to the side and say, "No, I'm just waiting for...mumble...mumble..."
Or so it was explained to me.
Moreover, because our school is so small (1700 students or so), and because we (that is, my group of friends) eat at the same dining hall and the same time every night, the dining staff knows us all by name, and we know most of the students who are getting food at the same time.
So I decided to try it. There wasn't much I could eat last night -- I have a slew of allergies that kept me from the main courses -- and ended up with just a salad when I noticed that the kosher dish was kosher for me as well. My friends all laughed as I, the Mormon kid, hesitated to go up and ask for the Passover dish -- I didn't want to deprive some Jewish kid of dinner, you know.
"How are they supposed to know you're Mormon, not Jewish?" That's a good question. They won't. But I will. And everyone will think I'm Jewish if I'm asking for this dish.
So I go to the head of the line. I stand there, waiting. I grin and say to Sue*, "Can I have the Passover dish?" And Sue smiles indulgently and replies in a tone that indicates we've got a secret between us two -- with everyone else watching, "Yes, dear -- it'll be just a moment."
And I stand there. I put my hands in my pockets. I rock back and forth. I wait. I feel people watching me. I shake my head and mumble "No, I'm waiting for...mumble..mumble..." when another of the staff asks if he can help me. Finally, the dish comes out, and is passed where everyone can see to where I'm standing. I grin: "Thank you," and proceed triumphant back to my seat.
Darn it, and I'm not even Jewish! So why do I feel that way? Why do the Jewish guys I was eating dinner with feel that way?
And to translate it over to Mormonism: why do I kinda mumble when people ask me what I'm doing on a Saturday -- and I could just tell them, "Oh, I'm driving down to Boston to visit the temple." Why do I put my hands in my pockets and reply kind of shyly when people ask if I want to go somewhere on Sunday morning and I have to reply, "Would love to, but I've got church in the morning."
Am I ashamed of the Gospel of Christ
? Could it be a lack of self-confidence in my ability to explain why
I go to the temple sometimes on Saturdays, or why I got to church on Sunday mornings -- or why I want the Passover dish when I'm not even observing Passover?
Or is it just some natural reaction that comes with being part of a minority and not wanting to be singled out as such?
Either way, the chicken was delicious -- and far better than just a salad, any day.
*Name changed to protect the super-cool dining hall staff who give me yummy food every day.