Bad news for the potential pill popper part of me, the one who had hoped that one day the blue pill would finally dispense me from the hard work of faith…
I’ve picked up a book by Alexander Schmemann and the first line reads, “Man is what he eats…”
No matter where I turn I find I am facing this very thought. I am a function not merely of what I say I believe, what I think I believe or even merely what I do on a regular basis…what IS it that I eat? What do I take into me for nurturing, for health, for comfort, for joy, for grief. I’m moved right to shame…where I’ve been, what I’ve eaten, what I want MOST to eat, the reality of my nourishment up to now and my reluctance to move away from the metaphorical fast food frenzy which sustains me right now.
No…this is enough…I don’t want to have to be responsible, really, for all of this. I am too much, God is too much. I understand why so many turn away from the struggle. It may be the reason I am not evangelical by nature. I understand, friends, I do. It’s too much, it’s too hard, it’s too lacking in instant medication. There is no spiritual morphine strong enough to last more than a second or so. When we come down from that one second “high” we hit the ground so hard, so fast…every bone breaks, every memory of the high, gone in a flash.
It’s only here that I find I can get past the first page of Schmemann….”In the biblical story of creation man is presented, first of all, as a hungry being, and the whole world as his food.”
I am hungry. The thirst I’ve felt these years speak to the line between life and death. I WILL die without the water, it’s only just now that I realize I’m hungry too. Being hungry is where I have a choice in this great banquet table set before me, this is where I choose and I am upended right there. This is where I am moved to shame. It’s unbelievable how I can stare at the banquet set out before me and choose to lament the crap I’ve eaten to date and in the same breath complain about the absence of Twinkies on the table.
And this reveals my deep ability to choose fear over love.
What I tell people ALL the time about changing their lives where their bodies are concerned is that it’s not enough to simply desire good health, making good choices or feeling better…we have to have integrity between what we want, what we know to be true and what we do.
You know where most people trip up? It is in believing that we are WORTHY of good health, good choices and feeling better.
So I stare at the table before me and see what is offered I know I’ve lacked, I know I will continue to fail and I wonder why I even try. You don’t have to tell me how good the food offered is, how lovely it will sit on my taste buds, how much I will yearn for that meal again and pine for it hours after it’s digested and gone. I can only think too far ahead and know that I will be pulling up to the drive though all too soon.
I want to choose hope, I want to choose well. It’s getting past shame though, this is where the struggle lies. I must move boldly to the table, this is where I’m at. Shame is big and fat and ready with the hardcore wrestling moves I have been teaching it all these years. I can only pray that God’s words make me David to this Goliath.