Remember the old drive-in restaurants where people drove up, ordered from their cars, and a waitress (car-hop) brought their food out on a tray that hooked onto the car window? I worked at an A & W drive-in for three seasons when I was in high school – a fun job because it gave us a chance to hang around our co-worker friends, get outside, and just be in a happening place, especially during the county fair and Sunday nights after the races let out. I can still taste the frosty, cold root beer and smell the grease and salt in the air.
At one point during this three year period, I was lured away briefly by the idea of more money and a more “mature” calling. My parents had purchased a supper club – another term that, like drive-in, has gone by the wayside. A supper club was an eating establishment, supposedly a step up from a cafe, that was mainly open in the evenings and often had a salad bar and a menu heavy on the meat entree.
Many of these places had dark wood paneling, no or few windows, and air filled with cigarette smoke. The lights were dim, and there was often a candle in a glass jar burning in the middle of the tables. A bar was a predominant part of a supper club to provide all the alcohol the diners could desire, and drinking wasn’t as carefully monitored as it is today because drinking and driving weren’t as big of a concern as they (quite rightfully so) are now.
I remember ordering my waitress uniforms and eagerly looking forward to this grown-up job, but it wasn’t long before I discovered that I wasn’t quite ready for this adult world. One night a man, who had obviously already consumed his share of alcohol, yelled at me for not putting enough salad dressing on his salad, and I went back to the kitchen with tears streaming down my face. Looking back, I think I let the incident bother me a little too much, but at the time it was embarrassing and degrading. After a few more weeks, I decided I would stick to car-hopping for the time being.
Now, when I think about supper clubs, I think about what unhealthy places they were. That salad that I didn’t put enough dressing on was strictly a bowl of iceberg lettuce, nothing interesting or extremely nutritious, and the dressing was often a heavy, high calorie addition which was loaded on the lettuce. (The amount I put on the man’s salad was probably doing him a favor!) After the salad, patrons were served a large steak or deep-fried meat with greasy or cheesy potatoes and sometimes a small serving of an over-cooked vegetable. The salad bar might have had raw carrots or celery, but the emphasis was on “salads” dressed with a mayonnaise or sour cream concoction. Parsley may have been used as a garnish to decorate these salads.
There are still some restaurants that serve similar foods, but many places are starting to emphasize alternatives. Local food, interesting vegetables, smaller meat portions, organic greens dressed with a light vinaigrette and herbs, delicious salads made with quinoa or couscous – all these and more can be found if you do a little looking. Thankfully, restaurants are no longer filled with cigarette smoke, and the heavy drinking isn’t as common. Parsley is now known to be a powerful cleansing herb, not just a garnish on a plate. Many places still serve portions that are way too large, but even that is beginning to change.
It might be hard to find a drive-in restaurant any more, but fast food restaurants are everywhere. At least they are coming up with alternatives such as salads and apple slices and juice for the kids.
Changes are happening all the time, and many changes are moving us in a positive direction. So often, though, change is brought about because finally the research says that something isn’t good for us, and finally people accept this, and finally they demand change. Or living a certain way finally becomes too painful or destructive and it’s either “change or die”. We can either be pulled by a vision or pushed by pain.
What if change came about more because people were living out the truth inside of them, were following their vision or calling, and were giving birth to a better world because they were listening to their hearts? What if profit were not the primary motive, but bringing that unique vision we each see into reality? We don’t have to wait for a trend and then try to ride that trend and make a buck. The buck will come but won’t be what drives us. “Seek ye first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness (doing the right thing) and all these things shall be added unto you.” I believe we each have a strategic part to play in bringing about positive change. I believe it’s part of us, something we were born with and are equipped to fulfill.
We can learn to listen to our hearts, not just rely on our brains. We can learn to access our intuition, that gut feeling, that tells us so much more than all the voices in our heads. Rollin McCraty Ph. D., director of research at the Institute of Heartmath, says: “Research in the new discipline of neurocardiology shows that the heart is a sensory organ and a sophisticated center for receiving and processing information. The nervous system in the heart enables it to learn, remember, and make functional decisions independent of the brain’s cerebral cortex. Moreover, numerous experiments have demonstrated that the signals the heart continually sends to the brain influence the function of higher brain centers involved in perception, cognition, and emotional processing.” The heart also communicates information to the brain and body by electromagnetic field interactions. Clearly, the heart is more than a pump, and the expression “listen to your heart” is more than a new-age slogan.
So. . . change is gonna come. The question is how is it going to come? As a reaction to terrible things happening in our world? As something we are forced to do because someone else is calling the shots? Or can enough of us learn to access the combined intelligence of our hearts and brains and start being the change we want to see in the world? Can we learn to bring forth the vision planted in our hearts? I believe we can, but we have to start now. And we have to start spending a small part of each day in silence, letting our hearts speak to us. I think that is the way God speaks to us, through our hearts. We have to stop being afraid of science and stop being afraid of religion and let the two come together. Don’t stop seeking sound advice, but learn to trust that you know what it is you are to do with your life, what part you are play in creating real, lasting change. And then go and do it.