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I feel God in this Chili’s tonight

The Office is the soundtrack of my home. It is never a surprise to open the front door and find our television playing one of the many episodes, while my daughter is writing, my son is watching sports on his laptop, and/or my wife is reading. It’s ubiquity in my home is the equivalent of the soft-rock that plays in the grocery store.

Each of us have experienced “Office moments” — times when a quote from the show perfectly encapsulates what’s going on in our real lives.

One of my favorites from this very quotable show, is a line from Pam Beesley, the office receptionist.

Pam has a great perspective in the middle of a mundane moment.

After winning the “Whitest Sneakers Award” at the annual Dundies celebration, Pam gives an amazing acceptance speech that concludes with this sentence.

“Finally, I want to thank God because God gave me this Dundie, and I feel God in this Chili’s tonight.”

The line is so iconic, you can buy it on anything from a mug, to a tee shirt to a cross stitch — here’s just a sample. If you’ve never seen the speech, go here.

Pam’s over-the-top enthusiasm — fueled by anger, rebellion, and a little too much to drink — keeps the party going. Michael was just about to end the ceremony early, because nothing was going well. Corporate refused to finance it. Chili’s guests and staff regularly interrupted the festivities, and the office employees were somewhat exasperated with Michael’s old jokes and song parodies.

It was so bad that the warehouse staff, including Pam’s fiancee Roy, left early. But Pam chooses to stay at Chili’s to celebrate with her friends.

Choosing to see

Pam’s over-the-top reaction keeps the party going.

There is something in Pam’s attitude that I admire. When everyone else is discouraged, Pam opts for something else. She wants to have a good evening and she is working for it.

When she receives a meaningless award in a nondescript restaurant chain in Scranton, PA, she sees something so much more. It’s so ridiculous, and yet somehow instructive.

All too often, I’m like the rest of the people in that Chili’s — annoyed, bored, just going through the motions. But Pam sees something else in the normal-ness of the moment, at least partly because she is looking for it. She chooses to see what everyone else is missing — God in a Chili’s.

It’s pretty easy to see God at church, in your favorite worship song, or when reading scripture or your daily devotional. But it is something special when you find God while surrounded by the people you see everyday who are eating an okay meal while placating your hypersensitive boss.

It’s a sign of spiritual maturity to find God in the everyday. For me, at least, I know that I’m spiritually healthy when I can say with Pam, “I feel God in this Chili’s tonight.”

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