It couldn't get better. Fluffy floor cushions, great company, laughter, chopsticks, and Korean food. The sweet Korean mother is famous for her cooking, and everyone looks forward to her invitation. My friend, her son, passes steaming vegetables, perfectly seasoned potatoes, spring rolls, rice, until my plate is filled with more than I can eat.
"Oh, did you get kimchi?"
I had hoped he wouldn't notice.
"That's ok, I have enough, thanks!"
"But you don't have kimchi." He says. "This is the best kimchi."
"I'm sure it is amazing, thanks, but I don't care for kimchi."
Suddenly I'm the center of attention. "You don't like kimchi?"
And the comments fly from all directions, urging me to just try it, that I'll like it once I do, that everybody likes kimchi and I'm crazy if I don't.
But the truth is, I have tried it. I know why I don't like it. The cabbage taste is great but I don't enjoy the combination of the spice with sour. I'm a sauerkraut kind of girl, and love me a good Reuben sandwich, but kimchi has a weird pickled, fermented, spicy taste to it that my tastebuds don't care to get used to.
"Thanks, but I just prefer not to."
Years later, and I'm catching up with a friend. We talk about her life, her job, her empowerment. She's living her dream. Writing her own happiness. She doesn't let anybody pull her down. She's a success. She's got the Gucci bag and the perfect makeup. She's over the quaint, old-fashioned Bible ways. Nothing holds her back now.
And suddenly I find myself looking at the kimchi again. Somehow it looks good to me now. Maybe it isn't so spicy as I remember it. Maybe there is a freedom in letting your tastebuds develop new likes.
Everybody likes kimchi. Maybe I'm crazy if I don't.
But then again, maybe I'm not. Maybe not everyone has to like kimchi.
It's ok to say, "Thanks, but I prefer not to."
It's ok to let those choices be a part of her journey, and to love the journey I'm on for what it is.
After all, I've tried kimchi. It wasn't great. Spices give you heartburn and stomach ulcers if you eat them too much, so what need is there of developing the taste?
If a choice I have made is because God said it's best, I don't need to wonder if there is something better somewhere else.
You know, come to think of it, Reuben sandwiches are pretty awesome..