Saturday, May 31, 2008

A Change of Heart

Picky Eaters Club

You may recall that my son, James, proclaimed himself to be a carbitarian and refused to eat meat because he loves animals so much and couldn't bear to see them summarily consumed.

We've prayed for him in this regard, because we believe Scripture states clearly that God gave us meat to eat after the flood. We agree with James that God originally created all of us to be herbivores, but after the 'waters above the firmament' deluged the earth in the days of Noah, the sun came out like never before, shortened man's lifespan by hundreds of years, and created a need for added nutrition.

We further believe that if God has declared something to be good, then it *is* good. Period.

Therefore, while James's refusal to eat meat stemmed sweetly from pure compassion, his view that what God had pronounced *good* was, in his opinion, *bad*, was actually a teeny tiny thumbing of his little nose at God. And while God never said we *have* to eat meat (yay for vegetarians!), He *did* say that it's *okay* to eat meat. So for James to say it's *not* okay to eat meat is essentially a declaration that God is off His rocker. We, of course, never actually pointed that out to his tear-stung eyes while he mourned the loss of Bessie the Cow whose hindquarters supplied his spaghetti meatballs.

Two days ago, everything changed.

Jeff and I had meatloaf for dinner, but we figured the boys wouldn't eat it without a struggle, so Jeff set aside a little of the meat and made them a couple of hamburgers.

Later, my distracted mind completely forgot dinner had even happened. I asked the boys, "Did you have dinner?"

Jonathan answered happily, "Hamburgers!"

I turned to James and said, "Did you eat yours?"

He nodded, eyes tortured.

"How was it?" I asked.

James flopped himself across the couch upside down and sighed dramatically, "Mom. I TOLD you. I Don't. Eat. Meat." After a slight pause he continued, "Unless it's a McDonald's cheeseburger."

"The burger you had tonight was just like a McDonald's burger. Only better!"

He doubted it.

I prompted gently, "So you'll eat beef there, but not here? How is that beef different than this beef?"

Frown.

"They're the same, aren't they?"

Deeper frown.

"If they're the same, why will you eat that one but not this one?"

James blurted passionately, "Because I don't want to EAT my BEST FRIEND!"

Poor little guy. But we were getting somewhere. So I pressed, "Cows are your best friends?"

Finally I saw a spark of self-doubt cross James's face. "Welllll...no..."

"Are pigs your best friends?"

"No...I eat pork." (Sausage, bacon, ham...)

"If you're okay with eating pork since pigs aren't your best friends, do you think it might be okay to eat beef, since cows aren't your best friends either?"

His face was a picture of conflicted thoughts.

"You know, James, we don't eat any of the animals you love. We don't eat zebra meat or dog meat or elephant meat or..." I floundered, trying to come up with more beloved animals.

James finished for me, "...or lion meat?"

"Right. We don't eat lion meat. In our house, all we eat is beef and pork."

"And chicken," he added.

I nodded, mentally including turkey and fishsticks, but biting my tongue.

"James, I don't mind if you don't want to eat the meat of the animals you really love. That's okay. I'll never ask you to eat your REAL best friends. But do you suppose you could just add beef and chicken to your list? You already eat pork...and you already eat beef from McDonald's."

After several moments of silent thought, during which I forgot to breathe, James finally gave in. "Ohhhhkaaaaaaaaaaay..."

Boys howdy! An entire orchestra of triumphant dominant-to-tonic chords sounded in my brain, led by brassy trumpets and rumbling timpani, carried along by an entire screaming string section, colored by woodwind trills and harp runs. Victory!

"Yay!!!" I cheered for James.

He returned my exuberance with a vague, sad smile. Poor sweetie.

The next evening, Daddy made hamburger mac for dinner. When the boys saw their steaming bowls, Jonathan shouted, "Yummy!" with great gusto, and James closed his mouth silently and stoically. Not one word of complaint.

Jeff, preparing for the nightly meat ordeal, began, "Now, James, this has meat in it..."

James cut him off, "That's okay, Dad. I've decided to become an omnivore again."

Jeff was speechless. He glanced at me, confused.

Behind James's back, my face glowed with a perma-grin to beat the band as I did a silent happy dance.

And everyone's hamburger mac was gobbled down in no time.

This is a miracle that only God, the Changer of Hearts, could have brought about. We are praising Him!!