My Ordered Life

The food order is so familiar it slips off my tongue easily, “Italian beef, dipped, no peppers.” In Chicago, everyone has their preferred Italian beef order, and that was mine. Oh, sometimes I might get it with mozzarella, but usually, just meat and bread. That’s how I liked it, and I saw no reason to change. I’m a creature of habit and I was pretty sure it couldn’t get better.

Then I had a birthday, and since then, I’ve tried to do things that a mature adult would do? [Side note: should “mature adult” be considered a redundancy.] That meant trying new things, so the last time I went to get an Italian beef, I added tentatively, “Can I have sweet peppers on the side?” You know, so in case the sweet peppers ruined the taste, the whole sandwich wasn’t ruined. Long story short: they didn’t ruin the sandwich!

In fact, ever since that last Italian beef, I’ve been craving my next one — with sweet peppers, thank you very much.

Being wrong about a food isn’t new to me. I’ve changed my mind about sushi, eggs, and now sweet peppers on Italian beef. (I have not changed my mind about oatmeal. I see no purpose or valor in eating ground up cardboard.)

And now it’s public confession time.  I’ve been wrong about people too.

I’ve pre-judged and misjudged people and found that I’ve had to eat my words about them. [Side note #2 – eating judgmental words about someone is not as tasty as Italian beef and sweet peppers.] At a former church I attended, my first impressions of a certain couple was that they were both annoying and boring, quite a feat. They ended up being the people I missed most when we left that church, because over time I found out that they were intelligent, kind, and we even had things in common. What a surprise!

Unfortunately for me, that’s not the only time that’s happened. I can think of two other instances where I let my assumptions about people color my perspective of them. People that I would now not only count as acquaintances, but friends. People whose opinions I respect; whose fellowship I cherish.

I knew what I needed in a relationship or a friend. I knew myself and I knew them and it didn’t seem like a fit. Or so I thought.

Turns out, I usually didn’t know them. And sometimes it took several months or years to gather the pieces of their personality together, like putting together a stained glass window to look into a beautiful soul. That can be humbling to be willing to put aside misconceptions about a person; to change an opinion, and to eventually turn away from former emotion to a newer and better one. But, as we learn in James 4:6, God gives grace to the humble, and sometimes that grace includes a new friendship.

Preferably a friend that will go get Italian beef and sweet peppers with you.

5 thoughts on “My Ordered Life

      1. For me, as a legally blind cross-eyed kid, I viewed my ability to read people quickly as necessary for self-defense and self-preservation. I had to know who would help and who would be a jerk.

        For me, developing the ability to read people was not out of arrogance, although it certainly played it’s part. For me arrogance was more a problem after I read a person. I knew what to say to hurt them. I often felt better than them.

        Over the years I have learned to take that skill, which is rarely wrong quite honestly, and use it to be helpful, kind and loving, to know how to serve a person. I can read people about as well as I can read food–pretty well. However, if at some point you bought me a sandwich containing peppers, I would eat it, maybe even enjoy it, and tell you sincerely, “Thanks for the sandwich.” Yet next time I go to order my own sandwich, there will be no peppers. No offense, I just don’t need all the fuss with the extras! But if me eating peppers makes you happy, hey, in your presence, I shall eat peppers.

      2. You could take the peppers off in front of me and I wouldn’t care. One thing I’ve learned is not to mess with people’s food predilections. And I’m a no-fuss kinda girl when it comes to most foods. I probably won’t get sweet peppers all the time (they’re extra $), but those times I want a little extra, I know how to get it.

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