When eating, I am strictly a one-food-at-a-time kind of guy. It’s weird, I know. I’m a grown man who eats one thing at a time and who prefers that the various foods on his plate not touch each other. The only exception for this strangeness is peas and mashed potatoes; the peas are placed on top of the mashed potatoes where God intended for them to be placed. This policy has remained virtually unchanged since I was a child. Sort of like my hair-style.
I’m sure my ugly brother was a huge factor in me adopting this strange habit. He’s the older brother and when we were little, I served as his fatter yet more handsome shadow. He liked comic books, so I liked comic books. He collected baseball cards, so I collected baseball cards. He made good grades, so I wanted to make good grades. I’m still thankful that he was never a Culture Club fan.
I also blame him for me becoming a picky eater.
I’m not so bad now, but my pickiness was terrible when I was a younger. Trying to get me to eat anything green was like trying to figure out why people watch The View. Basically impossible. And my hamburgers had to be plain. Really plain. There were times when Dad would go through a drive-thru on the way home. On a few of those occasions he forgot to get me a plain hamburger and would do his best to it cover it up by taking the pickles and onions off of it and wiping off the condiments. It never worked. I smell mustard and pickles like a drug dog smells crack. Cocaine, that is.
Being picky about food when there are decent choices is not too difficult. Being picky when the choices are scant can be disastrous.
I am proud to say that I was once a member of the Carter High School Band. And slightly embarrassed. It’s not that being in a high school band is a bad thing. It’s more because I chose to play a french horn in the concert band and a mellophone in the marching band. Or maybe the instruments chose me.
A french horn is a brass instrument with coiled tubing that ends in a flared bell. A mellophone is kind of like a bloated trumpet. Neither of them are flashy instruments. They are more likely to be described as feminine. It’s okay; I’m secure in my manhood. It’s not like I wear a dress every day or something.
The best thing about being in the Carter High School Marching band was attending band camp every year on the campus of Tennessee Tech University located in Crossville, Tennessee. The worst thing about attending band camp was the food. They weren’t fond of offering a wide selection. You either ate what was there or you ate nothing at all. Eating nothing was not an option.
One day for lunch the options were particularly terrible. I could either choose to have something that did not remotely resemble food or a burrito. I wasn’t a burrito fan at the time, but if you have to choose between a burrito and food that looks like it might destroy your taste buds, you take the burrito.
After sitting down at one of the tables, I picked up the burrito and took a big bite. What I tasted was similar to the taste you would get if you combined the worst food you have ever tasted with sewage.
It wasn’t a burrito; it was an egg roll.
It looked like a burrito and felt like a burrito. There was no reason to think that it was cabbage in a breaded shell. Who would even think to serve egg rolls to a bunch of teenagers for lunch? Was the person in charge an ex-Nazi or an idiot?
It looked good on the outside, but was terrible on the inside.
This seems to be a common problem.
Looking good on the outside is easy. The right clothes, the right hair-cut, the right grooming habits and we are at least presentable. Family and friends can see us and have no clue about what’s happening on the other side of the veneer.
We may look holy yet be haughty. We may seem gentle yet be filled with rage. We may appear sincere yet only care about ourselves.
We aren’t what we should be so we choose to hide it instead of trying to become what we should be. We think it’s easier and causes less problems.
We are wrong.
It’s easier to surrender to Jesus and allow him to transform us by his presence. It’s easier to stop pretending and start depending upon his goodness instead of our own. It’s easier to allow him to make us what we should be instead of pretending that we are already there.
Egg rolls that look like burritos are gross; people who look like they are fine yet are really failing are worse.
Letting Jesus transform us daily is the key.
(Have you ever eaten something that you thought was something else? Do you like egg rolls? If so, why? Share away.)