The Sandwich of Great Price

How far would you walk for a sandwich? Half a mile? Maybe a mile, for a great sandwich. Jimmy John’s delivers sandwiches, you know. Safe to say, I wouldn’t walk very far.

This, apparently, is where my dad and I differ.

It’s the early 70’s. Miami. A young student has just enough money each day for both lunch and his bus fare to get home from school. He’s a student at Miami Jackson High School, which is in Miami. My dad’s family had moved out of the city, but he didn’t want to change schools so he would catch a ride into the city with a neighbor and take the city bus back home. Apparently, there was a great food stand next to the bus stop and one day my dad was faced with a dilemma: spend the bus fare on the bus or spend it on a sandwich and walk home. He chose the sandwich.

Fast forward to 2012. Our family is in Florida for my grandmother’s funeral. While in the city, running errands and sorting out last minute details, we drive past my dad’s old school. The story of the Bus-Stop Sandwich resurfaces and my brother and I start to think “this seems a little far from home…”. We map it out when we get back. It was a little far from home.

Eight Miles.

Miami Map

Well, Google says 8.4 miles to be exact. Now, you’d expect the story would finish with “and that was the last time I did that”, but it doesn’t. This became routine. For forty years he never knew exactly how far he walked for that sandwich. I’m not sure knowing the distance would have made any difference. It was a Cuban sandwich after all.

Sometimes a sandwich is more than a sandwich. Sometimes what is ordinary to most turns out to be extraordinary to maybe just one person. Certainly a lot of people bought sandwiches from that shop, but I doubt many were willing to pay that kind of price. But, when it’s worth it to you, you’re willing to do whatever it takes.

It reminds me of a story in the Bible that Jesus tells. He says that the Kingdom of Heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls. When he found one of great price he went and sold everything he had so he could buy it. That must have been some sandwich… I mean, pearl 🙂

And Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, “You lack one thing: go, sell all that you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” Mark 10:21

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