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Monday, August 6, 2007

Listen to Your Taste Buds


While I was in Phoenix I ate at my favorite local establishment, Oreganos. We sat down at the familiar green table, and without looking at my record shaped menu, I ordered.

“I’ll have the Big Rig with chicken, with extra sauce, with extra cheese, and with no tomatoes.”

“Picky, aren’t you?” she sarcastically remarked.

“Nope, I just like to make sure I get what I want.”


Our taste buds have opinions and these opinions form our culinary preferences. Some like dark chocolate while others cannot stand its bitterness. Some people will open a bottle of Tabasco and pour it all over their eggs; other people prefer only egg whites. Some like to end their meal with salt, others need to have dessert.

My friends frequently laugh at my lengthy orders. I get all of my food without tomatoes, pickles, and peppers and often add anything that has the adjective “smoky, chipotle, or zesty”. My defense…I want to eat what I prefer.

We all have preferences, and we live our lives with these in mind.

As illustrated in my detailed food requests, we make demands based on these preferences. We inform the car dealership of our desired option package, we tell our hairdresser (or cosmetic engineer) how we like our hair, and we tell the cable provider what package we would like. We are constantly communicating our preferences.

I find it interesting that as generously as we share our preferences with those in service industries, we are often sluggish to share our preferences for care. We are slow to discuss how we would like to be loved. We are hesitant to communicate our expectations with a friend.

Why is this? What are we afraid of?

Imagine relationships where you knew what was expected of the other. What if you could sit with a sibling and describe the loyalty that you need to feel from them? What if you were honest about moments in which you needed care and asked to be cared for? What if you described your desire to experience more joy and less sorrow in conversation? What if you laid out your expectations for your spouse? What if you explained your need for physical touch, a good conversation, or a quite night at home?

Why are we so intentional as we order our meals and design our custom Prius but take our relationships so lightly? Why do we ask the expectations of our boss as we begin a new job, but are less intentional in our intimate relationships? Are our relationships not the most central rhythm of life? Does God not ask us to value our neighbor as ourselves? Why is it then that we refuse to share our preferences for love with others? Why do we not ask others to share their expectations with us?

To this, I have no answer. Maybe the answer is found in our taste buds.

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