Monday, July 02, 2012

Putting "cheesy" concerns in perspective

Once in while comes a reminder in life that the way to sanctity for most people involves no fire-breathing dragons, death-defying car chases or captivity in a jungle. Often the opportunities to be heroic and beautiful in God's eyes are not dramatic scenes that are the stuff of movies about the Crusades or about long-canonized saints, but day-to-day instances that test one's faith and sporting spirit. Sometimes the opportunities come in the form of... pizza.

A friend got the delightful news one morning that dinner for that night would be pizza. What's the big deal? you ask. For a person who partakes of pizza all the time or who can easily drop by a pizza joint any day to bring home a pie for the family, that certainly would be no big deal. But for my friend who neither gives in habitually to food cravings nor spends money indiscriminately, but who loves pizza, this certainly was big news.

So the whole day took on a different meaning because of this gustatory element. After lunch, she thought of the yummy Friday Special she and her family would enjoy in just several hours. She worked happily, thinking how God was so good to bless those who don't have the luxury of instant 6-digit purchases or for whom jetting off to some exotic country without a moment's hesitation is not an option. Yes, siree, God blesses those who do their best to practice sobriety -- and for whom a pizza pie would be cause for jubilation already.

By late afternoon, soon before her mom was due to arrive with the lovely takeout box containing the even lovelier culinary treat, she was anticipating the taste of anchovies and shrimps. Could anything be more satisfying to simple taste buds than a bite off a Friday Special pizza slice? Hmmm!

"Pizza tayo ngayon, mga platito na lang ang gamitin natin! Kasya naman dun eh," my friend's sister chimed while setting the table, equally anticipating the yummy dinner delight and feeling happy when the door bell rang.

Of course the family was elated by the sight of the huge family-size pizza box. "Mag-Sprite tayo!" my friend suggested, wanting to complete the gustatory treat.

It turned out that only a bottle of Coke was left in the supply cabinet. Since the sister was advised by the doctor to keep off the colas, they opted to skip the drink, opting for good ol' water instead.

"Di bale, kahit na ano pa kasama ng Friday Special, masarap pa rin," my friend said.

Prayers were said and the box was opened. The unmistakable smell of pizza wafted across the dining room, and the family momentarily savored the scent and the sight of the food. My friend gazed at the pizza before her alright, but not with the anticipated rejoicing. What are those pepperoni slices doing there? Friday Special does not have pepperoni. And where are the shrimps? No anchovies?" ran through her mind.

It turned out that a different flavor was brought home, for some reason. My friend, on hindsight, felt silly that she had almost wanted to give the restaurant a call and demand to know what happened. Half a day of anticipating a specific kind of pizza was serious business, she quipped, amused at herself. But then she knew she was blowing things out of proportion and that the world had problems much graver than satisfying pizza fans, so she let it go. Admittedly, though, the gratitude she felt earlier that day seemed dampened. Was she insincere, then, when she praised God's goodness? Probably, as one of my old friends would say, it was just a lack of love and that she could still love more.

Well, what do you know? My pizza-fan friend's mom is bringing home pizza again tonight. Will it be a "nearly Friday Special" night again? And will she be moved to deal with the disappointment with a more sporting spirit and a supernatural outlook? We shall see...

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