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Reflection: The Bad Cut of Meat

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So yesterday I shared the story of our summer vacation cab driver Carl, The-Guy-With-The-Hat.

Today I want to tell you about the ride.

We had spent all our time, up to this point, at a self-contained resort. It had its own restaurants. It had its own beach. So there was no reason for us to leave, which I like. The less I have to think about, the better.

But we did get a few recommendations for restaurants on the island that multiple people assured us were worth the trip.

So we made plans to go to this steakhouse everybody talked about.

It was a little late, but when we called, they told us to come.

So we got in the car, driven, as established, by Carl, The-Guy-With-The-Hat.

And he drove us to the restaurant.

And from the moment we arrived, things weren’t quite right.The restaurant was open, but empty. They welcomed us, but I was not convinced. There was one other couple there. And we got the sense, right away, that maybe the staff just wanted to go home.

Anyway, we got drinks, and appetizers. Some bacon seafood thing. We got a salad. Everything was good.

For entrees, they had a number of steaks that looked fine. The one everybody was hyping, however, which I had had before, but not as an entree, was the Wagyu Steak. It was twice as much as all the others. Lori wasn’t very hungry. So we decided to share it.

And when it arrived it was…different.

It was a little stringy. A little tough. Somehow, both overcooked, and undercooked. Tasty in parts but bland in others. It was just not good.

But it was one of those bad experiences that progressively dawns on you.

I kept thinking, huh. Wagyu Steak This is all right, I guess? Is it me? Maybe it gets better?

And by the time I was done, I still hadn’t fully processed it. We followed our weird meal with a weird dessert. Then we paid and left.

And as we were leaving, it clicked. This wasn’t a weird meal. It wasn’t a new taste. It was just lousy.

And I’m sitting there getting progressively more irked. This was the restaurant everyone raved about. This was the place that justified bypassing four restaurants we knew we liked. This was the priciest thing on the menu.

When Carl picked us up, we gave him the review. And he was surprised, and sympathetic. And then Carl, our oracular spirit guide with unique headwear, like an Atlantic Coast Gandalf, just shrugs and says “sometimes you just get a bad cut of meat.”

And that was a word in season.

Because the same principle that describes one lousy meal describes much of life.

Despite our best intentions we will face many disappointments in life.

People don’t do what we want them to do.Things don’t work out according to our plans.We don’t get the job, or the house, or the happily ever after we expected.

People we thought we couldn’t live without leave us.

Disappointments come, not from what happened, but from what we expected to happen.

And when they come, we have a number of common responses.

1. We are angry at people who mistreated us.

2. We are angry at the people who advised us.

3. We are angry at ourselves for allowing it to happen.

4. We are angry at God. Why would he allow it?

Sometimes, though, the answer is not deep. Sometimes it’s just a bad cut of meat, a bad day, a bad result.

We cannot expect that everything will always be good. There will be rain. There will be storms. There will be setbacks.

Our hope, though is that all things are working together for our good, that somehow, our greatest setbacks are setups for comebacks.

Our hope is that when we fall, we will fall forward.

My prayer for you today is that disappointment would not make you bitter, but better.

I pray that the bad relationship wouldn’t resign you to isolation, but that it would give you a new understanding of what you want, and don’t want, what you can handle, and what you should avoid.

I pray that the unsuccessful interview, or audition would cause you to refine your craft, and improve your approach so that you are not just a better worker, or artist, but a better interviewer, and auditioner. I pray you would improve as both a candidate, and a campaigner, in whatever election you are chasing.

May we become wiser.

May we become seasoned.

The right seasoning can make even the worst steak better.It may not be the best, but you can eat it.

And perhaps, for today, that’s enough.


(Photo Credit: Mali Maeder)

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