I stood in line for (no joke) 20+ minutes waiting for our
fast-food sub to be made (while attempting to keep my children out of each other’s breathing space), only to get to our sticky, crumb-infested table to realize that they had made the wrong sub and forgotten that I didn’t want lettuce, tomatoes, mayonnaise, or pickles on our turkey and ham.
But when the friendly, overly-busy employee took a minute to stop by our table and ask if everything in our order was okay, I said the first thing that came to my mind.
“Sir, thank you so much for asking. Unfortunately, our sub order was not correct but in light of all the broken chaos of our world, I’m not sure it really matters at all. It’s just a sub, and we are thankful.”
He had no clue what to say and honestly, neither did I.
Because for 10 minutes, while we ate our incorrectly-made sub, I looked out over a restaurant filled with tables containing people of all skin-colors, including a table of uniformed police officers.
And as I sat and thought about the sadness that has covered the news (in all kinds of colors), I couldn’t help but think, “This sub is not even a little bit of a problem.”
And if I could have gone on, I would have told this kind-hearted man (the one who made a mistake in making our sub), I would have said…
“No, we have much, MUCH bigger problems.
We have a problem of casting blame, throwing stones, and pointing fingers.
We have a problem of assuming, condemning, and minimizing.
We have a problem of talking a lot and listening little.
We have a problem of misplaced priorities and crooked values.
We have a problem of fear and bias, of control and pride.
We have a problem of hiding behind our media accounts and blasting the world with our judgmental memes and our preconceived ideas.
We have a problem of jumping to conclusions, assuming the worst, and believing untruths.
We have a problem of spewing rhetoric, spouting off ideology, and spinning pain.
We have a problem of demeaning the struggles of others and judging the suffering of another.
We have a problem of blaming policies, pistols, pastors, politicians, professions, and entire people groups.
We have a problem of not trying to identify with the journey of others and not empathizing with the pain of those who walk in different shoes.
We have a problem of throwing out absolute truths without building relationships and loving people.
We have a problem of pride, prejudice, and political parties.
We have a problem of lumping and grouping, condemning and condoning.
We have a problem of picking sides and perpetuating cycles.
We have a problem of sitting with the hard, experiencing the awkward, and understanding the “different from us.”
We have a problem of living in the BLACK and WHITE, neglecting the shades of gray that color so much of our life experiences.
We have a problem of preaching what we don’t live and living what we don’t preach.
We have a problem of wanting to forget, stuff, avoid, and deny the hurts, experiences, and history of others.
We have a problem of generalizing, stereotyping, and labeling that which we shouldn’t.
We have a problem of believing that we have all the answers and hold all the solutions.
We have a problem of silence and of screaming, of love and of hate.
We have a problem of fearing the unknown and running from the “unlike me.”
We have a problem of building walls, dividing people, and creating categories.
We have a problem of sin…a problem of not living and loving like Jesus…and a problem of fighting one another rather than the TRUE enemy of this world, but NO, sir,…we don’t have a problem with our sub.”