A restaurant I enjoy is a family affair. A young boy works the tables while mom and grandmother run the kitchen. Occasionally, the young boy’s sister is there to help. It is a simple business model. Good food, simple settings, and cheap prices. The all vegetarian Chinese Malay menu is light on oil. While things are basic, one experiences the wonder of traditional dishes served with a difference.
The boy’s English is slowly improving, although it is easier and safer to point at specific pictures if one wants to order. While my Singlish is not great, it isn’t non-existence. When I try to order, a harsh reality sets in. He does not have any idea what I am trying to say. He looks at me with open and innocent eyes and asks, “What would you like”?
Initially, I thought he was winding me up. There are only so many ways one can say the names of certain dishes. With no other apparent ill will or attitude, I have begun to understand that he truly does not know what I want to order. He is asking a genuine question.
Often I think I have the full picture. I act without restraint, certain that I am on the right path. In hindsight, there were questions I should have been asking. It is unsettling (frustrating?) to realize that one could have known what one did not. The simply step of asking with an intent to listen was missing.
I am beginning to appreciate how far this extends across my life. Even the things I already know can be further developed. As I reflect on a simple question, I realize it extends into every aspect of my life. “Didn’t you realize that your body is a sacred place, the place of the Holy Spirit? Don’t you see that you can’t live however you please, squandering what God paid such a high price for?” (1 Corinthians 6.19)
Quiet time is part of what it means to live. Reflection is important. Taking time to grieve is good. Life is more than results.