Tuesday, June 2, 2009


The first time I tried sushi, I was hooked. For all of you that are cringing right now, don't knock it 'til you try it.

(please. for the love of california rolls.)

Anyway, I was at this fab restaurant in Greenville, SC-I can't remember the name of it and I'm too lazy to facebook my friends and see-but it was a real good day in the history of That Girl. However, that magic moment meant that it was finally do-or-die time when it came to the utensils of choice for sushi: the dreaded chopsticks.

I have been trying to use those dagnabbed pieces of wood since I was a little kid. There I was, in all my eggroll wonton glory, with the two sticks, banging them together like I was preparing to play the timpani or something. It did not make sweet dinner music to my parents, who were either secretly afraid I would let go and somebody's eye would get shot out a la Ralphie or afraid that a stray lo mein noodle would fly across the room, hitting another poor hapless patron in the face.

As you all can probably guess, I was not the most coordinated kid on Route 4. Whatever, my dream was to master the chopstick usage.

I went to eat sushi in Greenville and was forced into the deep end of the chopstick pool without my floaties. ACK. I didn't know which move to make but trusted my sushi companions to show me the tempura way. I studied every move they made, and followed it to a tee. I tried not to act like I had never actually used the chopsticks correctly, but since I was always a step behind, and I never like to wait around when it comes to eating,

they must have known.

One strange and glorious move I picked up quickly was the art of rubbing the two chopsticks together in the middle. I didn't ask why because I didn't want to be exposed, so I just kept my mouth shut about it and did as they did.

When in Rome...or Greenville...

Ever since then I have been a chopstick fan. I won't lie, I feel cool that I am finally coordinated enough to use two chopsticks in harmony to bring Asian-infused delightfulness to my mouth. Just don't ask me to chew gum at the same time.

After church service last Sunday, I went out with a few members of our community for some lunch. My friend Rita asked me why I rubbed my two chopsticks together.

For a minute, I was "got."

I was so caught off-guard that I don't even remember how I answered her question. All I know is that Seth swooped in to save the day with a good answer-at least it sounded good to me-regarding splinters. I sat there, dumbfounded. I had this habit and didn't even understand why I repeated it.

How often do our relationships with God mirror the chopstick incident? We continue to do certain things, maybe even with a complete lack of understanding when it comes to why. We spend a lot of our days holding fast to things when Jesus just wants to be the One to which we cling. Phrases like, "This is the way we have always done it" and "That's just tradition" are sometimes uttered, and not just by the Church as a whole. In our journeys with Jesus, how many times do we think "If I word my prayer this way, then I will get the results I desire?"

Our chopsticks grate together and we don't know why.

I love tradition. In fact, I grew up in a very liturgical worship environment. I value hymns and liturgy and order and I find great beauty in that. However, if I just made a habit out of it, it would lose meaning. Same thing would happen if I just lifted my hands during a rockin' worship song because that's what I am supposed to do.

Jesus talked about this to his disciples once. In Mark 9, Jesus casts out a demon from a little boy, and the disciples approach Him: they also tried to cast it out to no avail.

I have to tell you, I probably would have been right there with them. The Palestinian Wrestling Team, as my friend Matt calls them. The Sons of Thunder and The Rock. Clueless as all getout, much like me in my chopstick stupor. They had seen Jesus pray over people quite a few times, and they had probably studied His every move and every word. When it didn't work, they came to him sheepishly behind closed doors to see what part of the equation they had missed.

Too often we have more faith in the way things are done than in the One who does them. So we don't understand, and our faces crinkle when we are questioned. Sometimes we even grow defensive. When we can't explain it, maybe it's time to reevaluate.

After all, if there is a valid reason to rub my chopsticks together profusely, I will be That Girl at Table #9 at the Crazy Buffet appearing to make fire over my bowl of wasabi and soy. If there isn't, then maybe it's time to quit trying to earn my Boy Scout Wilderness badge at Lin's Garden. In all seriousness, consider the traditions and actions you take in your relationship with Christ. When we trade in our ways of doing things for His way, and join with Him on whatever He's already doing, we will see His glory fall in ways we cannot even imagine. Or we can keep rubbing our chopsticks together and get mad when we begs the question "Why?"

Enjoy doing things when you KNOW they are the heart of Christ. But don't miss a blessing because you are stuck in a rut, because all along, Jesus has been whispering to us: Cling to Me tighter than you cling to your own ideas and traditions.

Remind me of that if you see me ordering the sushi.


Teresa @ Grammy Girlfriend said...

Enjoyed reading your blog today..still finding my way around blogland....I always love making new friends..I am posting about Disney so hope you will stop by. Commenting automatically puts you in the drawing for the June giveaway.

♥ H ♥ said...

What a cute post! I'm new to your blog but I already love your outlook. Makes me stop and think! ...and now I want sushi!! LOL!!
have a great day!

Rena said...

This post has a new special place in my heart. Oh, if I could tell you a story or two...perhaps, one day.

I found your blog at bring the rain. Your story was so beautiful! I'm so grateful for having found this blog. I'm blessed by the profound truth that is in this post. And from such a young woman. Truly a blessing and an inspiration.

I look forward to more browsing and visiting and invite you to stop by and visit me at insertgracehere.com.

Many blessings to you!
Rena Gunther

Anonymous said...

I am terrible at chopsticks too. They slow down the food intake. I have to slurp down as much of the veggie lo mein as I can. Sorry about the turkey leg pics, they are on Jose's camera and she hasn't posted them yet!

Christy said...

Well put Laur!! Now come back home!!! =)

jennie.newland said...

I am becoming a true fan of yours! I love your writing style and I am so glad that I found it. I too have trouble with chopsticks, I think that may be why most Asian people are so darn skinny! LOL! Stay strong, and know that I am praying for you, and I hope that we can become good "blogging" friends! Oh, and just thought you might think this was funny I too have blogged about chopsticks! You can check it out here if you want.


Anonymous said...

This made me laugh. I just had sushi tonight. I mocked sushi forever until my boyfriend took me out and made me try it. I was hooked instantly. California rolls are my favorite....with "Seattle rolls" not far behind. I was surprised to find I could use chopsticks...but only with sushi....I can't seem to use them with anything else! Glad to know I"m not the only one. Too funny.

StephanieU74 said...

this is the first post I read after coming from "Bring the Rain" and I went WHOA a girl after my own heart: loves sushi! California rolls are my fave!

also such a powerful object lesson. I will be pondering it all day all. I seek out object lessons in life such as this to translate to the kids in my church, as I am the "children's story teller" before the sermon. I've been at it for 10 years straight and, without Divine inspiration, I would not be at it 10 years later!

God bless.

Anonymous said...

Wow, I love this post. It's true wisdom.


Anna Osmon said...

Lauren, Thank you for bringing the word in an Asian way ;) But seriously this is so awesome. I truly appreciate the way you bring the word. I love you! :)

Someday Sarah said...

Hello there... I'm a Sunday that followed you from Angie's place! Nice to "meet" you!
I wanted to thank you for sharing your beautiful story with her, and us...

Thanks for this entry too.... I too am guilty of "rubbing my chopsticks together"... things in my life I can't let go of... just because they've always been there....

Have a blessed week!!!

- Sarah Grace

Ryan and Jasmine said...

Yep - Went to IU. My husband went there also. He grew up in Indy. We're both out in San Diego now. Have a great day!

BeckyB. said...

Needed that.

thank you.