El Remedio (The Remedy)
January 27, 2017 | by: Sharon Bruce | 2 Comments
Posted in: Gospel Living
In my hometown, El Paso, Texas, there is a traditional food eaten to ring in the New Year. It’s not black-eyed peas, but menudo, a red chile based soup featuring hominy and tripe (the stomach lining of a cow). Many locals swear by it as a hang-over preventative and cure, hence the tradition of menudo for breakfast New Year’s morning. I cannot attest to menudo’s medicinal qualities in that particular instance; and because of its intimidating ingredients (especially that last one) I deliberately and successfully managed to avoid it, despite growing up in the Borderland.
That is, until college, when my roommate and I went on a camping trip at Camp Chimney Spring in the Sacramento Mountains, about a hundred miles northeast of El Paso.
Before I go any further, you need to know that I love to camp. I look forward to a weekend in a tent the way a little kid looks forward to going to Disney World. I would rather sit in a canvas chair in front of a fire and listen to the wind blow through the pines than do just about anything else.
I love the nature.
I love the simplicity.
I love the quiet.
Ok, back to the trip. Julie and I got to Chimney Spring and checked in with the hosts. Much to our delight, the campground was completely empty. We pitched the tent and settled in happily for a weekend hiking, stargazing and sightseeing. It was peaceful. It was perfect.
Then those other people came.
They rolled into a campsite across the clearing from us in their conversion van, mariachi music blaring. The family poured out and energetically set up their camp. And the mariachi music played on and on, with its horns, guitars, passionate balladeers, and the occasional tuba.
I was ticked.
For days I eagerly looked forward to this chance to get away from the noise and rush of life and regroup. Then those people showed up and ruined it. Julie and I went for a walk. I grumbled and growled about the people in the van. “I’m going to complain to the camp hosts about the noise! Who comes to the mountains and then blasts music everywhere?! I came here to get away from that.” Of course, I never said anything to those people. I didn’t even want to talk to them. Asking them to turn their music down would be awkward (i.e. it would take courage to be vulnerable and ask them to turn it down a bit). Better to rat them out at the camp office instead, right?
Thankfully, I never got that far.
Later, back at the site, it started to drizzle and we unsuccessfully tried to start a cooking fire. We sat cold in front of a smoldering pile of damp wood when the matriarch of those people came over, and smiling, lovingly handed us each a steaming bowl of menudo. She said something kind to us in Spanish and walked away.
Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me, a sinner.
I looked at this woman and her family and saw an enemy invading my space. She looked at us and saw two hungry people, so she fed us.
It was as if God himself, disguised as a Mexican grandmother came over to attend to my sickness.
“Your heart is sick. Eat your soup. Repent. Be healed.”
And I ate my soup.
And my stony heart became warm again.
Yes, menudo has medicinal properties. You should try some.
Feliz Nuevo Ano, amigos.
Sharon Bruce, a current CG leader at Restoration, traded her childhood desert mountains for beaches and green. Her lush backyard garden plants display a marked respect for her Bachelor of Science in Horticulture. Sharon’s love for God and compassion for His creation shout loudest in her artwork, in her caring friendship, and in her willingness to gently re-home a slimy frog from a friend’s front porch Bromeliad to the river three miles away.