A Carnitas-Shaped Void

"I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For" is a seeker's hymn. Musically and lyrically, the song captures the longing ache for something more. The genius of the song is that what is being looked for is never defined. It could be faith, a sense of calling, a relationship, a place to call home.

Or it could be a meat to replace the one that is currently out of supply at your favorite burrito place.

Now, don't get me wrong. I'm not saying that Bono was traveling through a culinary wasteland in search of that one item that would make his lunch whole. It probably ties into the whole faith/sense of calling/something more thing and I'm normally totally there with him. But right now? Chipotle still does not have carnitas and I am forced to search high and low on the menu for something, anything that can take its place.

I don't want to oversell carnitas, which literally means "little meats," but the tender pork is just about perfection. I am apparently not alone. I have read news articles online about the interruption in Chipotle's supply line. At our local restaurant, there is an apology on the door for the lack of carnitas (which actually made my heart leap in hope when an establishment in Greenville did not have the sign; nope, they just weren't as considerate).

I attempted to fill the void with chicken, which wasn't as spicy as the first time I tried it. It was good, but it wasn't the same. Last night while on a date with EA, I ventured an attempt with the barbacoa; hoping that it also being a pork product would yield the desired results. Who knows? Perhaps this was the true one that I was looking for because I had settled for carnitas? Alas, it was not. I still had not found what I was looking for...let's make that phrase more grammatically correct...I still had not found that for which I was looking.

It's funny how we grow so attached to the little things in life that it throws us for a loop when they are gone. Obviously, the absence of carnitas at one of my favorite restaurants is not any great tragedy in my life. I get to eat and have some choice in my matter. I'm doing fine.

When something is amiss, we can feel it in our gut. And I'm talking about the things weightier than carnitas; the stuff Bono was singing about. We can respond to these voids in various ways. We can ignore it best that we can (and there are certainly people who do a fantastic job ignoring those voids to the point that they do not realize them). We can numb ourselves in some way shape or form. We can try to fill the void with something else, but we end up finding out that thing just does not meet that need just like carnitas.

The philosopher Blaise Paschal once said that every individual (actually, he said "man" because dudes didn't think to include 50% of human beings when they made their grand sweeping statements) had a God-shaped vacuum in their heart.

On one hand, that has always made inherent sense to me. Yet I have kind of struggled with how mechanical that makes our experience with God seem. There is a way in which that concept can reduce God to another product we consume; a burrito for the soul, if you will. I don't think that was Paschal's intention, but I think the idea of "God as consumer good" is unfortunately quite alive and well.

God is not this one-time item that sates our need. Indeed, I think that we wouldn't feel any void at all if God (or any other the deeper things about which Bono was singing) was a one-time thing. Our relationship with God is ongoing, it is organic, and I think it hits these points where we have to go searching for God all over again.

I have been playing around with this idea that God likes the chase. God wants us to continue to search. Part of that is because we cannot contain or capture God but part of that is I think that we would otherwise take God for granted. If God is a consumer product that we can tap into whenever, then God would be as disposable as a tissue or a burrito wrapper.

We regularly have to go on these quests, big and small, to connect with our Creator. That's why I think "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For" is not only a seeker's hymn but a Christian hymn. Despite how often we talk about finding our rest in God there is still a certain restlessness to following the way of Jesus.

Anyway, those are apparently my thoughts on Chipotle presently being out of carnitas.

The Mountain

The Not-At-All Fascinating Story Behind the Name Wilco Moore