Bouncing with Style: What Do French Fries Have to Do with Forgiveness?

  • A nice big side of french friesAfter writing many posts and articles about forgiveness, I started to get sick of my own pontificating and advice. When I get sick of myself, I head to the nearest fast food chain, get myself a large diet coke and sit down to write.   Sometimes I get French fries. Sometimes I don’t.

    Well this is a stupid topic, I can hear you say, but it’s not. It’s vitally important to your recovery from whatever it is you are struggling with. Some people go to the gym. Some people go to church. I like to go to brightly lit, clean and safe fast food place.

    When you are upset and frustrated and feeling alone but not wanting to talk to anyone or make eye contact, fast food joints fill the bill. When I moved to my current small town, I was climbing the walls after my ex-husband moved out. I have this giant home, about 5000 square feet, but it felt like a cold, creepy mauselem and despite its magificient proportions, I could not breathe.  I dubbed it the Tomb.

    With no family or friends for miles, I got in my highly effective rattlesnake squasher, my full size SUV Toyota Sequoia, and I left the Tomb. The Tomb wasn’t home. It was the place my marriage went to die shortly after moving in. It had become a place of fights and tears and sadness that seemed to echo in the emptiness. My now vacant living room devoid of couches, tv and the rug looked disturbingly naked and helpless when I walked in the front door. It seems to say “Welcome home. You are now alone.”

    Where the heck was I going to go I thought as I drove down my rural canyon? Cry with the coyotes? Rage with the ravens? Dish to the dirt? It was 9:30 on a Tuesday night and the only game in town was Jack in the Box.

    I pulled in with my box of tissues and ordered the elixir of the gods: diet coke and a small order of fries. I settled myself into a booth and thought. This became the place I went when my kids were at their dad’s and I couldn’t take the Tomb. I planned there. I cried there. I sat in stunned silence there. I also enjoyed free refill after free refill as I mainlined caffeine. But, I was out in public. I was not home alone. It was perfect. So I came back again and again and still go there when I don’t know where to go or what to do.

    See, when you sit alone in a public place in abject sadness and distress, you can be left alone but not feel alone.  Since it’s late in this bedroom community and the only people out are self-absorbed teens, high locals, or homeless people, they are pretty comforting company when your life is a disaster. This became my routine when I needed stability. I would pull into Jack, bring my computer or my journal, and I would be alone in a mostly safe public place with lots of people coming and going. I began to think of Jack with his ghoulish ping-pong ball shaped head as my friend. No… not really, but he is consistent in his marketing.

    One night I was so upset I was just sitting in the parking lot under the bright neon sign. I was such as mess I couldn’t face the teens, the homeless or the high locals. I was really tugging on my dignity strings at that point when someone knocked on my window. It was the night manager of the fast food place.

    He handed me a large diet coke and a small order of fries. He didn’t say anything. He just smiled in a way that said, “This too shall pass.” Apparently God found fast food.

    I Corinthians 10:12

    And so finally after many more months of work, all the sages came back to him, and they had come to a unanimous conclusion that the wisdom of the world could be put into a four-word sentence. They told the king that this sentence expresses much. It is chastening in the hour of pride and consoling in the depths of afflictions. And I’ve reflected on this sentence this week. The sentence of their wisdom was: “This too shall pass.”

    Many times I have resolved my issues in Taco Bell, Jack in the Box, McDonald’s or Carl’s Jr . I didn’t find God there even though he showed up. I already found him years ago, but I did find this great song by Linkin Park called “Somewhere I Belong”.  This is my hopeless song that plays on my iPod in Jack’s.

    Here are the lyrics of the song.

    “Somewhere I Belong”

    (When this began)
    I had nothing to say
    And I get lost in the nothingness inside of me
    (I was confused)
    And I let it all out to find
    That I’m not the only person with these things in mind
    (Inside of me)
    But all that they can see the words revealed
    Is the only real thing that I’ve got left to feel
    (Nothing to lose)
    Just stuck, hollow and alone
    And the fault is my own, and the fault is my own

    [Chorus]
    I wanna heal, I wanna feel what I thought was never real
    I wanna let go of the pain I’ve felt so long
    (Erase all the pain till it’s gone)
    I wanna heal, I wanna feel like I’m close to something real
    I wanna find something I’ve wanted all along
    Somewhere I belong

    And I’ve got nothing to say
    I can’t believe I didn’t fall right down on my face
    (I was confused)
    Looking everywhere only to find
    That it’s not the way I had imagined it all in my mind
    (So what am I)
    What do I have but negativity
    ’Cause I can’t justify the way, everyone is looking at me
    (Nothing to lose)
    Nothing to gain, hollow and alone
    And the fault is my own, and the fault is my own

    [Repeat Chorus]

    I will never know myself until I do this on my own
    And I will never feel anything else, until my wounds are healed
    I will never be anything till I break away from me
    I will break away, I’ll find myself today

    [Repeat Chorus]

    I wanna heal, I wanna feel like I’m somewhere I belong
    I wanna heal, I wanna feel like I’m somewhere I belong
    Somewhere I belong

    Is it silly to say I belong in a fast food place? No sillier than it is to say I belong in church or the gym or the park or your friend’s sofa when you are struggling. The important thing is to find something that works without costing a fortune, putting yourself and your health at risk, and where you can get there easily. For less than $3, you can get your diet coke, fries and the Linkin Park song.

    You can disconnect there for a while. Reconnect with yourself there if you want to. Do whatever it is to help you rebound and recover. Since we are a fast food nation, why not let it be the fast food solution? Bouncing with Style means real solutions for real people in real tough situations.

    I wonder if Jack’s head bounces?

    Sandra Beck

    Empowerment is the through-line in of all Sandra Beck’s work. Whether she is coaching a company owner to a million dollar commission goal, training a stay-at-home mom to perform SEO on web sites, or speaking to a group of women who are in recovery, Sandra's message is about what is possible and how to create the circumstances of your choosing.

    For more information, please visit www.sandrabeck.com.

    View all posts by Sandra Beck.

    1. Kathi Sjotvedt
      Kathi Sjotvedt says:

      Enjoyed your informative story, thank you. I was wondering ….. Did you go back with a special way that thanked the night manager who, through his thoughtful gesture, sort of got your head and heart on a more healing path?

      Reply
    2. marcienbassett
      marcienbassett says:

      Your verse number for ‘this too shall pass’ is wrong… that verse is actually this “therefore if any man thinks he stands take heed lest he fall” as in ‘pride goes before a fall’ 😉 … just FYI ~~ marcie

      Reply

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