It should have been a simple dinner.

Bill and I were visiting Rochester, Minnesota, enjoying local restaurants.

From the get go, Bilotti’s Pizzeria looked like a great place to eat. Lively chatter, beer on tap and a casual atmosphere invited us in.

The plastic-covered tri-fold menus offered everything from pizza to full course dinners—all at modest prices.

What jumped out at me was a combined listing for Senior and Child plates.

Along with the usual grilled cheese sandwiches and chicken fingers that appear on most children’s menus, Bilotti’s offered small portions of chicken parmesan, and spaghetti or ravioli with meat sauce

The small portions seemed like a good idea. The previous evening Bill and I enjoyed dinner at the popular Victoria’s Restaurant where an individual entrée was enough to serve three or four people.

Weren’t we all supposed to size down? Eat smaller portions?

Here was our chance.

Bill ordered the senior portion of ravioli with meat sauce.

“We’re going to split his order,” I said to the waitress who seemed as surprised as Bill by this request.

“I’ll have a small salad, with blue cheese dressing on the side,” I added, somewhat sheepishly.

Bill’s ravioli arrived, beautifully smothered in a mound of ground sausage—a perfect portion for one—ridiculously small for two.

Bill offered me a taste. The ravioli was delicious.

I nibbled at my salad and Bill continued to offer me part of his dinner and urged me to order something more substantial for myself.

Bill kept offering. I kept declining. I dug my heels in.

What had gotten in to me?

My mouth watered for dish of ravioli or a slice of pizza, but I didn’t want to be persuaded to change my mind. I wasn’t going to budge. Period.

Why I had acted so strangely?

Then it dawned on me. I rigidly engineered our dining experience because another part of my life felt out of control.

I was worried about a seemingly overwhelming project I had taken on at home and fretted I wasn’t up to the task. I’d bitten off more than I could chew in one part of my life so I rigidly controlled another area—our dinner experience.

“How often do I act this way?” I wondered.

How often do we as a people rigidly control one part of our lives in order to compensate for feeling inadequate and powerless in another arena?

Have you ever been in a situation or relationship where others try to control you?

Conversely, have you found yourself attempting to control others?

Readers, let’s hear from you. Let’s have a conversation about this.

It has bigger implications in our lives than a bowl of ravioli.

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  1. Janet Aaron says:

    This blog really hit home! I was hoping you'd get many comments, and hopefully you will. I can't think of a specific example, but know that feeling — almost as though you are sitting there knowing you're only hurting yourself, but seem unable to let it go. It's almost like having a dream and realizing that your subconcious is trying to tell you something. Hope other people will try to explain this better that I seem to be able to. Great blog — got me to thinking, that's for sure!

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