I love to eat.
In Charlottesville there are a lot of restaurants. A lot. A ton of local places owned by folks from around here, the country, and the world. You could eat at a unique restaurant every day of the year and still not try them all.
Nick and I have found some favorites we visit often: we’ve got La Michoacana for enchiladas and tacos and queso (we had to try A LOT of sub-par queso before we discovered this gem—I’m a Texan and I’m a queso snob, I admit it); we have Mel’s for my very favorite burger, maybe ever (I mentioned that burger in this post over here and I may write a whole post about how much I love Mel’s someday down the road); we love Christian’s for pizza (their sauce is just so, so good; most of the time I don’t even bother with toppings beyond cheese); and Hong Kong is our go-to for Chinese take-out (honestly, I didn’t feel like Charlottesville was home until we locked this favorite in).
I could go on.
We are always looking to try new places and we have some friends whose taste we’ve tested and trust. We’ve got a group text where we shoot pictures of delicious meals back and forth to each other.
The other night we were at their house for dinner and they mentioned a place we’d never heard of: Al Carbon; whole barbequed chickens with delicious sauces and sides. They insisted it is the best. We believed them and committed to trying it ASAP.
The next night, Friday night, I crashed on the couch at 5:00pm. A while later I could hear both Nick’s and my phones buzzing so I knew there must be a group text happening. I finally willed my eyes open and checked what was going on and I found an invitation to meet at Al Carbon in ten minutes from our friends.
Y’all. It was SO GOOD.
Here’s the thing, really the whole reason I’m telling this story: we have been in the parking lot of Al Carbon at least 50 times over the past two years because one of our favorite frozen custard places, Kohr’s Brothers, is there, too. But we never noticed Al Carbon. I don’t know how we missed it.
But we did miss it. We needed our friends to point it out and invite us to join them there. They opened our eyes to its existence first with their words, then with their invitation, and then with their recommendations on what to order. They did not lead us astray.
I’ve been thinking in the days since that eye-opening meal. What I’ve decided is this: we need each other. We need people in our lives who will point us toward the delicious things they’ve discovered. And we need to be those people for others.
My thinking has deepened from considering shared meals to considering shared truths. We don’t just share food with these friends, we also get together and share what we’ve discovered about God, marriage, friendship, and other bits and pieces of life. Our friends welcome us into their home often and we spend time together sharing meals and stories and talking about who God is and how we can love and know God more. They point us toward things they’ve discovered along the way, and we point toward things we’ve discovered, too. It’s an exchange that is deepening my faith.
I’m grateful for their friendship and the ways they are inviting me to open my eyes wider and see the things around me that I may have overlooked.
Are there people in your life who are opening your eyes to new experiences and truth? Who do you share your discoveries with? Are you ever surprised by what you’ve overlooked?