They found it! At a cafe in Paris, they found it!
For years, I searched the world for the best hamburger. Like El Dorado, the Fountain of Youth, or the Holy Grail, the quintessential communion of beef patty and bun both allured me and eluded me in a obsessive contest of gastronomical hide and seek. Over the years, there have been many contenders for the prize, and I’ve also used my best alchemical skills to create a few close ones. But alas, burger perfection was a coy quarry.
Now that I’ve given up meat altogether, it’s too late for me. The quest is over.
But then my sons found it. On the ancient banks of the Seine, at the busy intersection of Quai Branly and Boulevard de Grenelle, only blocks away from the Eiffel Tower, there is an Italian pizza restaurant that serves that most American sandwich of German nomenclature. And as proof of the supreme nature of this particular burger, my boys sent me the tantalizing photographic evidence:
There it is: the “Super Magic Cheeseburger.” They found it! Super. Magic. Cheese. Burger. It must be the one! Admittedly, a picture of the burger itself would have been better, but the name on the menu is as good as the Patterson-Gimlin film of Bigfoot.
What super magic something are you chasing after? What perfection are you grasping for? What goal will, in your imagination, make everything great? What’s your super magic cheeseburger?
Money? Status? Knowledge? Influence? Perfection in a relationship, in a career, in the esteem of others? What pursuit has captured your attention and controlled your actions? What super magic something are you after?
Well, some of those goals may be fine to a point, and achieving them may even give some measure of satisfaction and security. In fact, noble quests can make a great deal of difference, transform lives, or change the world so don’t misunderstand me to say that all our pursuits are in vain. But don’t expect success in reaching your goals to automatically bring super magic peace and abiding joy.
I’ve learned a bit of wisdom, though, that makes some sense to me. It’s a morsel of sage advice that at first seems a little bitter but, upon deep reflection, truly satisfies the deepest of hungers:
I know there’s nothing better for them
but to enjoy themselves
and do what’s good while they live.
Moreover, this is the gift of God:
that all people should eat, drink,
and enjoy the results of their hard work.
Admittedly, this book of Scripture is a taste acquired best with age and experience, and I’m only just beginning to appreciate it. But there you have it: do some good, enjoy some food and drink, take some pleasure in what you can accomplish. That’s all I really need. Finding the super magic cheeseburger may be fine, but true satisfaction is found in the ordinary. Deep peace and abiding joy is realized in recognizing the Sacred in simplicity.
Again, I want to be clear: great causes can create great good and change the world. If they’re rooted in loving-kindness, pursue worthy goals with passion and zeal, especially if your quest will help other people know the simple universal gifts of food, drink, and joy in life. See Matthew 25:34-40 if you have any question about the value of such liberating work. On the other hand, many of the cheeseburgers we chase will just make us full but won’t really satisfy.
If you find yourself chasing after that elusive prize with little satisfaction in the process, you might take a moment to evaluate what you’re really after and whether it will really make a difference. And in the time you have, simply do some good, enjoy some food and drink, and take some pleasure in what you can accomplish right where you are–especially if what you accomplish brings joy and delight to someone else. That might be all you need to do.
And as for the Parisian super magic cheeseburger… I asked my sons how it was, but they ordered chicken and fries.