Last week was a well-timed kickoff of my online virtual Zoom study for Discovering Jesus…
One of the most common questions we ask while on the road is, “Where do you want to eat?” This question sounds innocent but it launches a popular inner argument. Do I want to eat healthy? Do I want a fun meal? Am I going to give in to comfort food? Am I going to seek a cultural experience or take care of my body? And on it goes. Like you, we love to eat and find the experience of a meal goes well beyond the nutritional benefit. Food can make us feel better, build relational memories and remind us of good days in the past. We also know food can “betray” us, however, so we are always looking for the balance since “our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in us.” (1 Corinthians 6:19)
We were recently in the province of Saskatchewan, which is north of Montana. We spoke in three different churches in three days. Each morning we loaded the car with our luggage and equipment to drive to the next location in time to set up. To make the schedule work, we would usually eat one meal in the car. When we were younger, we felt free to stop at any fast food restaurant that was open. Today, we have different challenges. I (Bill) manage high blood pressure (like many in my family) so I have to be aware of how much sodium I put in my body each day. I (Pam) manage pre-diabetes and gluten intolerance (part of my DNA heritage) so I am always looking for places with lots of vegetables. As you know, fast food and vegetables don’t normally coexist.
Fortunately, we found Chopped Leaf. The ordering process was simple, the staff was efficient, the food was outstanding and it was easy to eat in the car. We both enjoyed the lunch and felt good about the way we were taking care of our bodies. Half way between Saskatoon and Swift Current, we made the obligatory stop at Tim Horton’s to use the facilities and get a cup of Canadian coffee. Even though the cabinet was filled with “romantic” doughnuts decorated with XOXOXO, we were content to take a picture rather.
We were inspired to look up how XO became a way of expressing love. According to Mental Floss (http://mentalfloss.com/article/31929/why-does-xoxo-mean-kisses-and-hugs), many people in the Middle Ages could not read or write so they would sign important documents with an “X.” It was simple to write and expressed the individual’s dependence upon Christ. It was common for the person signing the document to then kiss the “X” as a way of demonstrating a sincere commitment to the truth of what was just signed. The “X” developed into a way that saying, “This is sealed with a kiss.” Later in history, Jewish immigrants would use an “O” to sign documents as a way of expressing their sincerity without making reference to the Christ of Christianity. Over time, these two symbols “X” and “O” became a widespread means for expressing devotion, affection and commitment to the one you love.
It was a sweet reminder that marriage thrives when your hearts are connected. You can’t get everything right in your relationships but you can take steps every day to keep your hearts connected, which makes all the difference. When your hearts are connected, discussions are easier, decisions are more cooperative, appreciation flourishes and acceptance replaces criticism. It is one of our goals to daily live out Philippians 1:7, “It is right for me to feel this way about all of you, since I have you in my heart.”