Where have you been? Where are you going? And why?
Road trips…I miss them. I didn’t take enough of them in college and now that I’m out, I realize there will be fewer and fewer of them as I get older. My friend Clint and I took off for Fayetteville, Arkansas, hoping to find tickets to the Tennessee Volunteer-Arkansas Razorback football game. I love the Vols, but they weren’t the reason I went. I went in search of connection with another heart I respect.
As we traveled, we naturally began to get hungry, and seeing as this was a guy’s trip and our wives were not with us, we figured this was a rare chance to enjoy the cuisine of Taco Bell. As we waited for our food, three middle aged Hispanic women came in. As I often do, they stopped a couple steps before the ordering spot and began mulling over the menu options…conversing in Spanish.
How interesting. Here Clint and I were, in the middle of a Spanish community, with a booming Mexican population, where there is no shortage of authentic Mexican restaurants. I live in Nashville and there are at least 20 of them in every 10 square mile radius. Okay, maybe that’s an exaggeration, but all these authentic Mexican restaurants are operated by native Hispanics who make some great food. It struck me as incredibly odd and confusing that these three woman were choosing to eat at Taco Bell, a totally Americanized imitation of Mexican food, when they could be eating somewhere authentic. I mean, they could probably throw something together in their kitchen at home that would be more genuinely Mexican than Taco Bell.
And yet, there they were. Trying to figure out whether to order the $1.39 Gordita or the Double Decker. I wonder if it even occurred to them that they could travel a little further down the road to sit down to a plate of rice, beans, and two enchiladas cooked by someone whose parents were born in Mexico City.
And then it hit me…I am them.
I love the scene in Braveheart when William Wallace chastises some of his fellow Scottish leaders for wanting too little. Schotland’s leaders are content to be paid well by the English king rather than fighting for a country of their own. He screams, “Your so concerned with squabbling for the scraps from Longshanks’ table that you’ve missed your God given right to something more!”
That’s it. That’s me. I am the same as the women at Taco Bell. God offers me a better quality of life than I can imagine, and yet I go on living life with my head down, digging my own wells where I can sit and enjoy a moment of ache-free living. I can do this with my wife, my friends, my job, fantasy sports, and Tennessee football.
One of my favorite authors, a guy named Larry Crabb, is beginning to convince me that I was made for no greater purpose than entering into a joyous relationship with the Father, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. He describes the Trinity as being a party that we are invited to join. Yet, so often I find myself reading the Scriptures, reading other spiritual books, and praying, not with connection with God in mind, but instead, my own growth as a Christian and any ministry God might be privileged to include me in. I settle for less than God offers. I am a Mexican standing in line at Taco Bell.
Yet, I am convicted. Thankfully Jesus has given me a taste for something more authentic than the small stories I create. The taste is none other than God. David once said in Psalm 34:8, “Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good!” I want that. There are times, every now and then, when I do taste Him. And oh is it worth it. Other times, I wander and journey, struggling to stay away from the fast food imitations. I often fail. Yet, I travel, because I know that those times of tasting the Bread of Life are worth the road trip.