I learned to eat and appreciate Greek food because of my best friend Mariel.
It all started few years ago when we picked a Greek restaurant for my birthday.
Over a generous helping of grilled lamb and watermelon salad and a huge portion of angus beef burger we decided to half, Mariel and I took the time to enjoy the flavors of our glorious food while dreaming about our future and talking about our big plans in life.
Mariel is that one friend who I feel very safe to tell my biggest dreams and biggest failures to. Maybe because we’ve already seen each other in almost everything for having to go through college years together (she went to Ateneo while I went to Miriam College) and entering the single professional life together. We’ve sat in the same boat many times that I feel I am most understood when I’m with her.
I love Greek food because I remember it for that – for that conversation we had on my birthday, for being understood, for the liberty to dream big without being questioned for it, for the freedom to know there’s beauty in all of my failures, and for the comfort it gives to know someone else is also sitting in the same boat with me.
It’s the reason I sat quietly for a brief moment the other day at another Greek restaurant we tried for the first time. We had our staple lamb and watermelon salad on the table, partnered with a hearty skewer of beef souvlaki and a siding of moussaka. We went on and talked about our dreams and plans in life as usual (and how Sheryl Sandberg rocks). And again, I felt it was a safe place.
I told Mariel that evening how I’ve been praying to God for clarity and direction for a certain dream I want to pursue next in this chapter of my life, and how I’ve been so blown away at how faithful He is for answering that prayer.
Some of you might have found yourselves needing to say that prayer too. When the roads split into two different directions and you’re not sure which one to take, “Lord, I pray for direction.”
Or when both of the opportunities in front of you are equally good and yet you need to choose, “Lord, please make it clear which is one You want me to pursue.”
The last time I prayed for clarity and direction, the answer came in a form of a door of opportunity that God swung wide open, while in the process also gently closing some doors that are not for me. One of which is the one door I was hoping He’d keep open.
And right before my very eyes, there it was—clarity. A crystal clear one.
I was telling Mariel all of that, of how I’m grateful to God for answering my prayer, and then in the same breath I said something I couldn’t place to admit for the longest time until we were at that table eating Greek food.
“You know, the thing with clarity sometimes,” I said while I struggled to find the most diplomatic word to express what I think.
But then with Mariel, I realized, I didn’t need a diplomatic word. I could be all straight out honest and true and so I finally let it out unfiltered,
“Just sometimes, clarity is painful.”
It’s that one conversation I’ve been pondering on lately, why there could be pain in the midst of clarity.
What I’ve learned is that when God brings clarity, He illuminates His plans for us.
We see it and while that is good, part of us pains for the truth that it is different from what we thought we already beautifully planned and figured out for ourselves.
I learned the pain comes from being human, broken and wanting to be in control. Now I realize that it is totally ridiculous of us to sometimes wish we know everything because if we do, I don’t really think we can handle that. I remember a friend telling me once that if we will see at once the totality of God’s great plans for us here on earth, we will only either get proud because it looks too great, or we will get disappointed because it’s not what we imagined.
Maybe it’s the reason we only know in part, why we only know what we have to know right now.
Clarity is painful because it exposes our hearts, where it is really yielded to. Is it yielded to our own dreams and plans? Or is it yielded to God?
I hope we will all walk this life yielded to a Person and not a plan.
The good part is, no matter what God illuminates to us as His plan when we ask Him for clarity, we are assured to know that it is the best for us.
And that there’s a promise that always stands true in moments it gets a little painful to understand (you all know this): “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways. As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:8-9)
Just in case you find yourself still needing a little more comfort, I hope you find it from knowing that you are not alone and someone else is also sitting in the same boat with you. You’ll find me there with maybe a good helping of moussaka to share. :)