Friday, December 25, 2015

For me, God, is in the queso. You are not missing anything. I just mean cheese. Creamy, melted cheese served with chips at my favorite Tex-Mex place: Chuy’s. You see, God has unexpectedly shown up at Chuy’s with remarkable regularity over the past 26 or so years of my life. Perhaps those of you who know our family might wonder, “Where else is he going to find you? It’s the only place you eat.”
I remember taking our first born to the original Chuy’s on Barton Springs shortly after he was born. As we were getting out of the car, he had an event. It was an event of such magnitude that late 20th Century technology in the form of Huggies Deluxe could not hold it.
It was volcanic.
But I remember us, as new parents, laughing uncontrollably and improvising a new onesie out of an adult sized t-shirt. In that moment, we felt less like pretenders. This kid was ours. And all we could do was our best.
Many years later I remember standing in the Chuy’s parking lot paralyzed in tears. We had buried my father that day. And the overwhelming nature of activity that accompanies sickness, death, funeral and burial was done. I had not cried that week until that moment. The reality of the transition had set in. My father’s life was over, and while we would continue having meals and small talk and queso; he would not.
Death felt real. And so did life.
And I remember the most recent moment.
On Friday, August 21, 2015, we sat together in one of my favorite spots – outside at the Chuy’s on 183 under the tree lights. We were a party of 2 – for 26 years it has been party of 3... then party of 4… then party of 6 (due to the twins) then back to party of 5… then party of 4… now party of 2. We had dropped off our daughter’s at their college dorm that afternoon.
We felt joy for the 26 years of raising our children. The challenges had been real and it had been work. But what could be more meaningful than the creation of a family. But now that family would live out its future in separate spaces.
Just two left; staring at each other – over queso.
Why was I feeling 60% dread and 40% panic? The day they moved into the dorm did not just mark the day my youngest children would be gone; it marked the day I would be alone with the man I had not been alone with for 26 years. My anxiety had grown all summer.
Under those lights - we took time to be still. Under those lights - we took time to toast to being empty nesters. After all, being an empty nester is a parent’s goal. We raise our children then they leave. And we are left to be the party of 2.
He toasted our future and I believed his optimism. He sent out a Facebook post – what a dork. But the post said - he was under the lights at Chuy’s with his favorite fellow empty nester.
And I believed him.
I am not being flippant when I tell you God is in the queso. I’m as serious as life and death and coming and going.
What ordinary space in your life has God infused with sacred meaning?


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