I love chicken wings. But I don’t just enjoy eating chicken wings because of their obvious deliciousness. I do it as a spiritual discipline. Before you dismiss me as either being sarcastic or idiotic, hear me out. I am being serious. Eating Chicken Wings is a Spiritual Discipline and I will explain how.
I owe my conversion to the joy of Chicken Wings to a friend inviting me to partake. When I declined, he inquired as to the reason I would refuse such culinary awesomeness. I responded that it was because of the bones. “Well then I got good news,” he said cheerfully as if he was about to both make my day and debunk my objection in a single swoop. I sat afraid at what he would say next, anxious he was about to claim that “boneless” chicken wings were anything other than glorified chicken tenders which spared grown men the humiliation of ordering off the Kids Menu. But he ended the sentence with insight not just into wings but into the world, “You don’t have to eat the bones….you just eat the meat and spit out the bones.”
With such clear headed logical thinking, I was persuaded and my foray into the world of wings has become something of obsession. But, like I said, my love of chicken wings is more than culinary. I eat chicken wings to remind me what the world is like and to prepare myself to enjoy it for what it is, instead of what I, in my selfishness, would rather it to be. Too many times we treat the events or opportunities or people in our lives like I use to treat chicken wings. We bypass or disparage or discard because all we can see are the bones. And by doing so, we miss a great deal of goodness and joy. We choke on the bones and never bother to savor the meat.
Life is full of inconveniences, rough edges, uncomfortable encounters, and bumpy roads. If that’s all we focus on, we will miss a lot of good along the way. But its not enough just to say we are going to start focusing on the good, we need to practice, to train, to teach our spirits and train our bodies to enjoy the good and not worry about the inconvenient or uncomfortable. That’s what a Spiritual Discipline is. It’s training. To build in us the spiritual muscle to be able to do the things we need to do at the time when we need to do them. I train by eating chicken wings. Not bad exercise if you ask me.