Friday, July 13, 2012

Plates Piled High

I knew it was going to be a really long drive home from NY, but I left early enough that I hoped to do it in one day. And I did make it...13 hours later. I am definitely too old for this. It is a beautiful drive through the Shenandoah Valley and the Endless Mountains of Pennsylvania. But there was one very distressing portion. One of the highlights to break the monotony of driving is lunch time! We stopped at a little ma and pa sub shop. I should have known that I should not have ordered food there when I walked in. It felt like the AC was not working, the lights were off in the dining portion and a sign said, "Take out only. No restrooms."

An old man greeted us, and having traveled without stopping for three hours, I asked him if there was a restroom he could let me use. He grumbled about it, but opened one up for me. We ordered our subs, and I was praying I had found a diamond in the rough. The rough part was true. Sadly, no diamonds here. It took him about twenty minutes to make our subs in a back room, though we were the only customers that entire time. (Clue #2000 we should have cut our losses and run....)

Finally receiving our food, we unbundled our subs, hoping beyond hope that they were good, as we headed on down 81 South. The old man had even thrown in a free donut. He added a paper plate and several napkins. I think we had made his day. I suspect we were the only customers he would see that afternoon. Asherel had ordered a BLT, and she said it was good. I opened mine. My turkey and swiss was piled so high with meat that I couldn't close it. The meat looked dry, but it was plentiful. I was hungry, so delighted with the huge sandwich. And then I took a bite. Moldy! Bleh!!!! I rewrapped it, almost in tears. Long drives will do that to me. I knew it was at minimum an 11 hour drive and now I had to stop for lunch again. I won't burden you with the rest of the set backs on the drive, which were numerous. In the end, we made it home in one piece and that is all that matters.

But it made me think of a spiritual lesson, that saga of the overflowing, moldy sub. So many times, we seek an abundance of things, a quantity of events, toys, food...whatever, and we seek after volume of experience rather than quality of the content. Sometimes the experiences are not good choices- we know from the start that they are foul, and yet we rationalize that these bad things will somehow become good. But even good things can still not be the best thing. If we load our lives with prayer, and good works, and church attendance...we then think we have a full plate of God. And then we are dismayed to bite into it and realize it is rancid, and stale, and impossible to provide real nourishment. At the crux, if our worship isn't fresh, and our relationship carefully preserved with an abiding and single, simple desire to love and seek and serve God, it doesn't matter how many extras we heap on top.

I threw the entire turkey sub in the garbage. I didn't even venture a bite of the donut. Then I went to a place that specializes in "fresh" food. The sandwich was small, but oh what a delight to take a bite of the real thing!

John 6:41-48 (NIV)
At this the Jews there began to grumble about him because he said, “I am the bread that came down from heaven.” [42] They said, “Is this not Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How can he now say, ‘I came down from heaven’?” [43] “Stop grumbling among yourselves,” Jesus answered. [44] “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them, and I will raise them up at the last day. [45] It is written in the Prophets: ‘They will all be taught by God.’ Everyone who has heard the Father and learned from him comes to me. [46] No one has seen the Father except the one who is from God; only he has seen the Father. [47] Very truly I tell you, the one who believes has eternal life. [48] I am the bread of life.

-save a dog-

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