The Perfect Burrito

Chris and I started dating our freshman year of college.  He was my first official boyfriend and I was in love with the idea of being in love.  We dated all through school and even managed to do a years worth of long distance when I moved to Nashville.  Chris was my best friend, he was genuine and kind-hearted and a wonderful boyfriend to me.

We were inching past our seven -year mark when we decided it was time to go our separate ways.  Our break-up came as a shock to the people around us.  While poor Chris had to face our friends and family back in Oklahoma, I had time to heal and recover out of the limelight.  My parents, who during our tenure had merely referred to Chris in social settings as “Sarah’s friend,” were devastated.  When I returned to Oklahoma for the first time since our break-up over Thanksgiving and found photos of us on displayed all around the house.

Up to that moment I had never really known where my relationship with Chris had stood among my Chinese parents.  Chris was, after all, not Asian and not exactly who they had envisioned for their daughter.  But at the end of our story, as nice as Chris was, he wasn’t my perfect burrito.

My friend Eliza has an analogy about burritos and future mates: we are all looking for our perfect burrito.

Imagine standing at a restaurant with a line of fresh toppings in front of you.  Each option is a perfectly suitable choice for you to build your perfect burrito.  My perfect burrito has black beans, rice, chicken, sour cream, corn salsa, tomatoes and cheese.  Yours may nix out beans and add lettuce and some spicy jalapeños for a good kick.  Neither choice is necessarily wrong, we just all have our own individual preferences.  Well, I don’t like jalapeños so obviously that is the wrong choice.

This can be said about our future mates as well.  A perfectly stuffed ‘burrito’ may walk through those doors with some pretty good ingredients, but he may not be suited for you.

I once knew two girls who were in love with the same boy.  They were best friends and neither would admit to the other their feelings.  And as much as they tried to hide it, everyone around them could see it.  Both girls loved different things about the boy.  One of them loved his boldness, ability to dream big and dry humor.  The other one loved his creativity, the emotion he poured into his work and the fact he made her giggle. The boy didn’t reciprocate feelings for either of them.  Turns out, he had his own ideas on what made a perfect burrito.

We are all created differently.  Some of us have beautiful long hair and a voice that sounds like an angel while some of us are short with squinty eyes and a funny personality.  And just because two people have some pretty great ingredients, doesn’t mean they are going to mesh the best together.

Have you ever looked at your friend and whoever they’re with and think, “Really? Him/Her?”  Turns out, sometimes it’s easier as an outsider to see that the ingredients in front of you aren’t what that particular person needs.

My friend, Jenny, recently told me a story about my relationship with Chris I had forgotten about.  Jenny and her husband went on a double date with us to a restaurant and I had asked for a to-go box.  Side note: I like taking food to-go.  It makes me feel less guilty for paying for something I didn’t fully eat.  I also like eating these leftovers at home, it’s like a two-for-one deal.

Chris was embarrassed by my request and threw a small fit in the restaurant pointing out that I was just going to throw it away when I got home.  I still insisted on getting my leftovers and on the way to the parking lot, Chris griped at me for causing more problems getting a box and the fact that now his car was going to smell like food.  Jenny and her husband were speechless that he was getting all riled up about my leftovers.  “What just happened??” they asked each other when they got into their car.

It’s been years since our break-up and I have always been confident it was the right decision.  But when Jenny told me that story, I realized that I should have known a lot sooner.  I’m not saying Chris was a bad person for getting mad about my leftovers, but I realized that just because you’ve been with someone for so long or you have so much in common with them, that doesn’t make them your perfect burrito.  Sometimes they have a lot of ingredients you like and can muster down, but ultimately, it’s just doesn’t hit the spot.

There’s no formula to falling in love.  There aren’t ingredients and sauces that will help you get the perfect soul mate faster.  God created each of us unique, with different palates who will be drawn to different characteristics and personalities.

I like the perfect burrito theory; it’s a concept that makes a lot of sense to me.  I used to not like guacamole in my burrito, but had some added accidentally one time and I ended up loving it.  That’s the beautiful thing about letting God be in charge of our burritos.  He gives us exactly what we’re craving and He even goes the extra mile and throws in a little kick we never knew we wanted.  God makes the perfect burritos.  I promise, when yours comes around, you’ll eat it up.

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