Monday, December 11, 2017

Christ: The Ultimate Comfort Food by Tyler Marz

The other day I made Chicken and Noodles, or Chicken and dumplings as some like to call it. This is one of my comfort foods. Homemade broth, slowly poached chicken, rustic hand-rolled egg noodles, thickened slightly to form a creamy comforting concoction that warms the heart, body and soul.
This is a newer comfort food, something I didn’t grow up with. I actually had it for the first time while working as a Baker in Arizona, near the north rim of the Grand Canyon at Jacob Lake Inn. A homey little catch-all, hotel, delicious home cooked food, kind people, and natural beauty. You see, Jacob Lake (which is really a misnomer, as it is a dry mountain with a pond of collected rainwater) is 30 miles from the closest town which doesn’t even have a grocery store. The next closest town with a store is another 10 miles. The “Big City” closest to us is St. George, Utah… 2 hours away (ok it depends on how fast you are driving). So if you didn’t get the picture Jacob Lake is literally in the middle of the most beautiful nowhere.  Surrounded by luscious ponderosa pine and abundant wildlife, you really are in nature. Just a few miles up the road is some of the most beautiful natural meadows I have ever seen. Surrounded by pine and birch trees that turn a glorious golden hue, purple, blue and yellow spots of wild flowers growing in the idilic grassy meadows truly is a sight to behold.
Sundays were treated as special days for employee’s at Jacob Lake. Comfort food and clover leaf rolls, or as they were cleverly called, “three headed rolls” were always on the menu! It was one of these sundays, after a days work (because tourists don’t stop coming on sunday) that I had Chicken and Noodles for the first time. Pure, silky, warm, indulgent comfort. It feeds the sprit too.
You see, Christ knows us individually. For some that might be a hard concept to grasp and I think in reality, all of us who know it, are still learning more about it. Every time we rejoice in triumph, dip our head in sadness, dance for joy, Christ is right there with us. Even in our most beautiful nowhere… He is now here.
Christ is present during the ruckus of little ones during communion, in the silence right before answering a question, in the chilly fall gloom of a doldrum-like day speckled with autumn colors of changing leaves. He is there in a child’s laughter, and music that makes us smile and relieves a tinge of stress. He is there as we lay in bed, looking at the ceiling and wondering what am I doing in life? He is there when our car makes that funny noise for the first time and you wonder, how much is that going to cost? He is there when you think back to how did I get here?, and am I making the right choices?… but then you think back to if life had gone that other way, would you be here now?
I know most certainly I wouldn’t. I can start at multiple points in my life and see how, looking back, had I not been lead down that path I would have taken a completely different fork in the road and gone a different way. While I was attending univer, I was prayerfully figuring our which career path to pursue. I had two that would have been great. After weeks of fasting, prayer and council, I received direct and simple words from God (while in class, in the middle of a conversation with a classmate) that spoke to my heart. And so I pursued that degree. Yet toward the end of my senior year, I realized (after some failure as well) that maybe this wasn’t the path for me. I knew that I wasn’t meant to do this for forever. But I asked God again, if this is my path, I will keep going, If not, I will pursue something else. He told me my second option of a career was ok too. My first thought was, what was the point of me going through all of this then, for me to switch? Well that answer became apparent a year later in my graduation, moving to a new city, pursuing a career that definitely has its challenges, loving myself more, using those things that I learned from my first degree path in my second degree’s field literally every day, and in growing closer to God than I ever had before. In finding a church that gives me room to ponder and grow. That lacks judgment and critique. That allows me to blossom truly into a Son of Him.  That He loves ALL OF ME. And, that He was there on the journey with me, and at every closed door…which He then opened a window. Better yet, He still is there with me.
Christ’s love has no bounds. Neither does His grace.
Christ is there, even in our bowl of Chicken and Noodles. He is the ultimate comfort food.