If you were ever to visit the city of Salem, MA and happen to spy (amongst all of the general craziness there is to see in the ‘witch city’) two wild-eyed girls speed skating down Derby St. across puddles of their own drool, have no fear. It’s just me and Big Guy and we’re on our way to the Howling Wolf for our chimichanga fix.
Chimichangas. Where would I be without them? I used to think that they were a made up word, like heffalumps and jabberwocks. But now I know that they are very real, very delicious and very near to my heart. Because there are few bonds stronger than two women’s shared
love of obsession with a particular food. And without chimichangas, Big Guy and I would simply not be as close.
Big Guy and I love chimichangas with a fervent, almost-angry love. It is love for chimichangas that makes us Zumba harder, even when our instructor literally slips in the puddle of sweat we generate. It is love for chimichangas that makes us Snapchat pictures like this:
The greatest chimichanga on the Northshore can be enjoyed at the Howling Wolf Taqueria in Salem. If anyone were to say differently, we would punch you right in the face with our tiny, cheese spattered fists. But then we would apologize and ask you to take us to this supposedly superior chimichanga because we both still believe in miracles.
About the third or fourth time we skated into Howling, we noticed their tagline, printed on T-shirts and on their menu:
FEED THE GOOD WOLF.
“What does it mean?”
“WHO CARES!? I AM THE GOOD WOLF! FEED ME!!!”
Once sated and calmed with margaritas, we Googled the phrase and found this story, which has changed our lives.
One evening an old Cherokee chief told his grandson about a battle that goes on inside of every person He said, ‘My son, there is a battle going on inside of me, inside of us all. The battle is between two wolves. One is Evil. It is anger, envy, jealousy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.
The other is Good. It is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion and faith.’
The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather: ‘Which wolf will win?’
The old Cherokee simply replied,
‘The one you feed.’
When we’re not planning our next ‘changa fix, Big Guy and I reference this story all the time. It sums up well a lot of what we’ve both come to experience in life and marriage and Jesus and hardship.
Most days, I want to feed that Good Wolf. I want to be renewed and transformed by God’s grace and spirit. I want to learn to love better. I want to be more hopeful and less cynical. And while I don’t want anything or anyone to get in my way, we’ve learned that there is a dark force out there, resisting good stories. We have an enemy who seeks to steal and destroy. We have our best intentions and our inevitable brokenness. There is so much that is out of my control, but this ‘legend’ reminds me that
I do control my choices.
My choices are powerful. It reminds me that I am always growing either more fearful or more loving. More like Jesus or less like Jesus – there is no holding ground. My time, my energy, my words, my thoughts – they all feed something. I don’t have the luxury of neutrality.
Because there’s a battle going on.
And even – especially!- on days when I feel less sunny and determined and optimistic – on days where I don’t caaaaare about making good choices and being loving and writing a good story…there’s still that twisted satisfaction I feel from starving my enemy. And sometimes, that’s enough.
Big Guy and I have been spreading this concept throughout our corner –
-and now you’re in on the joke, too. Because, really, the best advice I can give most people is: 1. Get chimichangas 2. Feed the good wolf.