What does your enthusiasm say about the things you value most?

August 17, 2010 

A joy of living on Hilton Head Island is meeting Midwestern transplants, who are idealistically pursuing jobs on the beach after graduating from the University of Ohio. It affords us the chance to learn about the wonders of the Midwest, such as marshmallow salad, raspberry iced tea and cornhole.

Last year, I befriended a girl named Katie from Detroit who told me of another such wonder: Meijer (pronounced "meyer").

Katie said she really missed Detroit. A typical Southerner, I asked, "What could you possibly miss about Detroit?" I had never been there, but I knew it had snow -- so why would anyone want to be there, ever? She responded, "You guys don't have Meijer," with the same tone that someone would use to say, "You guys don't have indoor plumbing."

I was intrigued and started to do

research. Every time I met someone from Michigan, I'd ask them about Meijer. You wouldn't know it from casual observation, but this is a state of people indoctrinated and obsessed. When asked why this store is so special, they all say the same thing: "I don't know, it's just like Target or Walmart ... only (insert deep, longing sigh) better."

The more I inquired, the more abundant the evidence. Lowcountry residents from Michigan import everything from cereal to body wash, because "Meijer makes it best." After a year of this hype I was in Columbus, home of a Meijer, last week.

My friend Steph, aware of my curiosity regarding this store, asked me one night, "So, would you like to go see 'Inception,' the film that everyone's saying is amazing and guaranteed to win an Oscar or go to Meijer?"

"Need you even ask?" I responded.

So, like the cool kids we are, we went out for dinner and then to Meijer.

This story has a point -- besides mocking the Midwest. In the past year, I encountered so many people obsessed with Meijer that when I had the opportunity to actually visit one, I was so there. Who cares about the No. 1 film of the summer? I wanted to go to a grocery store.

We who profess to be Christians consider Christ to be our hope not only in this world, but in the world to come. We believe that we were created for union with Christ in heaven and though we lost this at the fall of Adam and Eve, God sent his son to redeem us.

We believe there's more to life than this world, that we were created for eternity with Christ. But do we talk about this with the same enthusiasm that we talk about, say, a grocery store? Katie and Steph (who, for the record, also talk about Christ with great passion) had me psyched for Meijer because they talked about it.

Author and evangelist Frank Sheed explains that a Christian "receives the gifts of truth and life that the Church has to give ... through Christ our Lord. ... Is he in a kind of anguish at the thought that there are others who know nothing of these gifts and are not receiving them?"

We know we love Christ more than a store.

Are we talking him up like we do?

Alison Griswold is the director of youth ministry at St. Francis By the Sea Catholic Church. Follow her on Twitter @alisongriz.

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