What I Learned From Mexican Food

Last weekend, I went with some friends to a little hole in the wall Mexican restaurant in Orem, UT called “Mama Chu’s”. The atmosphere is a little ghetto, but the food is great. I recommend the carne asada. The service is pretty good, and it’s awesome if you’re tired of eating at chain restaurants like Chili’s or Olive Garden etc.  If you’re ever in the area, you should definitely check it out; preferably right before you head up into Provo Canyon, which is what we were doing. (Just a couple shout outs about the scene here in Utah County. I love living here!)

Anyway, everyone was laughing and joking around when one of my friends said something that really resonated with me. She said, “Mexican food is all the same, it’s just packaged differently.” This of course is true, which is why we all laughed. But it struck me as a wonderful metaphor for the human race.

Everywhere I go lately, I feel bombarded with messages about how labels divide people. Fill out any application and they ask you your gender, age, and ethnicity. Stereotypes abound. Are you a hipster, a jock, or possibly a thespian? Are you introverted or extroverted? Are you fat, short, skinny, tall . . . purple maybe? Do you suffer from any mental illnesses or syndromes like Depression, ADHD, or Asperger’s? Are you a Coke or a Pepsi drinker?  The absurd social checklist is growing extravagantly long, and I am done with it.

Who cares what you look like, what your interests are, or what difficulties you might be struggling with? You are a human being, and you deserve to be accepted and respected. Everyone has the same basic needs and desires. We all want to be loved, and we all have a lot of love to give. We all appreciate beautiful things about life, and we all contribute beautiful things to life. We all have lessons that we need to learn, and we all teach lessons to those around us. We need each other to live successfully as members of society, members of families, and as members of the human race.  We should embrace our differences, but we should let them unite us. They should never divide us.

I’m not saying that people always have to be best friends. It’s okay for people with fundamentally different views to remain separate. Sometimes we can’t agree. But we need to agree to be kind and compassionate with each other. I love this quote from Rick Warren that was echoed by Duck Dynasty’s Phil Robertson:

Our culture has accepted two huge lies. The first is that if you disagree with someone’s lifestyle, you must fear or hate them. The second is that to love someone means you agree with everything they believe or do. Both are nonsense. You don’t have to compromise convictions to be compassionate.

So, the next time you meet someone new, or you are tempted to judge someone for a superficial reason; remember this: We are all basically made of the same stuff. We’re just packaged differently. And we’re all delicious! Let’s be the best tacos, or burritos, or tamales etc. that we can be.