Chips and Cheese

My husband and I snuggled in the other night to watch a movie. We had our feet propped up, our warm blankets draped cozily across us, and our standard fare of tortilla chips, pub cheese, sodas, and the remote lined up just within arms reach. Sheer perfection.

The only thing that came close to dulling the brilliance of the evening was an “issue” I had with the chips. You see, I’m a pretty simple, laid back kind of gal. I’m not picky or fussy or high maintenance when it comes to much of anything, especially chips. But one thing is certain, if I’m having dip with my chips, then I at least expect the chip to fulfill its primary function. Kind of like a field goal kicker in football…but don’t get me started on that! It’s just that if you’re going to be known as a functional part of something (i.e. “chips and dip”), then is it too much to ask that said chip would actually fulfill that function? Call me crazy. Anyway…I digress.

My ramping frustration came from the fact that every time I reached in to grab a chip and attempted to scoop up some dip, inevitably the chip would break. One would crack here. One would crack there. One that looked absolutely perfect in the bowl completely disintegrated mid-scoop. It was the weirdest thing!

But a funny turn of events happened as we made our way towards the bottom of the chip bowl. The chips that were not whole…the ones that were already broken and fragmented…when bunched together, were able to scoop up far more pub cheese than any of their “perfectly whole” counterparts. Finally, I was able to scoop and munch to my heart’s delight. I was one happy camper.

Then the thought crossed my mind: 

We’re all just like that big bowl of chips!

There are chips that look fantastically put together – whole, complete, without weakness or flaw. All indications are that they are independently capable and competent. And yet, all too often, they fall apart under pressure…finding that their unexposed areas of weakness have done them in.

Then there are the chips that have been minimized by life’s trials and hardships – nicked and broken and fragile at best – they find themselves unwittingly at the bottom of the bowl. But when joined with others like them, they become a strong, productive, unified force – able to accomplish far more than any of them could achieve on their own.

Clearly by chips, I mean people.

Truth is, we were created to be in community. We were never intended to be alone. The world is a harsh and oftentimes brutal place. It doesn’t seek forgiveness, and it deals out judgment with a heavy hand. It can very quickly become a cold and empty place should we try to go it alone.

But if we allow ourselves to be known for who we truly are – transparent about our broken and fragile state – and if we learn to trust people with the sensitive and sometimes painful things of our authentic selves, then we open the door to the influence of their strength and courage in our own lives.

Designed to be in community. Designed for strength that can only be unleashed when we embrace our own weakness. Designed to do great things for the world, but never completely independent of the world.

It’s comforting to know we’re not alone. It’s an even greater comfort to know we’re not the only broken chip in the bowl. And it’s both comforting and humbling to realize that we truly do need each other – that we’re better together.

I don’t know about you…but I’ve got a lot more “cheese to scoop” in my life. I want so badly to make a difference and have an impact on this world. Big deal if I find myself at the bottom of the bowl. The way I see it: I’m in excellent company.

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