Lessons From a Breakfast Burrito


In what seems to be another life in a land far away, I used to be an assistant for a woman who owned a small yet high demand company.  It was one of my first real jobs in an industry I was hoping to be in for some time.  As part of every assistant job, I would run some errands including but not limited to Starbucks runs and picking up lunch.  One of the office’s favorite places to get lunch was this hole in the wall Mexican restaurant that made the most addictive breakfast burritos.  I had never had a breakfast burrito until I ate one from this restaurant and though I have ordered things called breakfast burritos since, I have never been able to find anything close.   It was also nice the guy who worked the grill was unfairly handsome.  As it turns out my dreams for that industry and for marrying Senor Guapo were not to be.  I digress.

On a day I had returned to the office with a breakfast burrito for my boss, she began to eat it when she received a phone call.  She was always getting phone calls and to stop what she was doing was often not a thought that crossed her mind.  This unfortunately included eating.  On this occasion it was a call from her doctor.  Hearing only one side of the conversation I could hear she was surprised by some blood work she had done.  She kept all sorts of files in my office including personal ones.  While she was on the phone, she was also asking for me to pull some files for her.  I retrieved the files, put them on my desk and based on what I was hearing from her side of the conversation, opened the files to what I though she wanted. 

What happened next happened in real time though I experienced it in slow motion, no doubt the reason it has been etched into my brain these nearly twenty years later.  She had said she could not understand why her levels were so high.  “Meat, cheese, eggs, I don’t eat any of it.”  Just then a glob of breakfast burrito fell from her mouth and landed on the page, it was undeniably a bite of meat, cheese and eggs.  I sat there, staring at the glob of food, too frozen and grossed out to look at her or do anything about it.  The hypocrisy of the situation was glaring and the thought of it was making me both wondering what else she was lying about and wanting to laugh at the ridiculousness of it all.  She picked up the file and left my office.   

She knew what she was eating.  Literally the words on her tongue had a real time matching taste.  Was she lying to herself or to her doctor?  What was the end game with that one?  I wonder what areas of life I have tried to convince myself of a reality other than the one there is.  I have thought of that moment many times in the years since.  Every time I am convicted about something I was slow to see.  Every time I wonder why there is an issue and I recount all the things I was doing right and then I remember all the other ways I was not doing everything right.  I think, this is a breakfast burrito moment. 

We always have the option to be honest with ourselves, others, and situations.  When truth is in our face or drops from it, will we see it for what it is and truly allow it to change us?  Or will we double down and deny the wisdom of the burrito?

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