“What’s for dinner? I’m hungry.” This is one of John’s most frequent conversation starters.
“What are you hungry for?” comes my predictable response.
“I don’t know. I’m just hungry.”
One would think that after thirty five years of evasiveness I would learn not to ask. And yet I persist, still anticipating a day when he will answer. For all of his fine qualities, my husband is not decisive, especially when it comes to what’s for dinner. In fact, he often avoids selecting from a restaurant menu by telling the incredulous waiter, “Surprise me.”
Occasionally I can coax him into choosing by the process of elimination:
“Do you mind waiting an hour, or do you want to eat right away?”
“Do you prefer something warm or cold?”
“Which sounds better, stir fry or Mexican food?”
Fortunately, pleasing John’s palate isn’t difficult. After snarfing down whatever was placed before him, he usually remarks, “That was really good. I wouldn’t have thought to ask for that.”
His most endearing line, however, and one he uses often is, “Anything tastes good as long as I’m sharing it with you.”
I recently experienced several weeks of what I can only describe as a bad case of the blahs, a feeling of emptiness. A vague sense of yearning settled over me. Since it occurred in the middle of a long cold winter, I misidentified this yearning as cabin fever and changed my schedule a bit, thinking that a little variety might be what I craved. I read some fiction, spent more time playing games, and even began watching more television (something that normally doesn’t appeal to me). I stayed up later at night and soon found that I had a harder time waking up in the morning. I got out of the habit of my regular quiet time, but reasoned that the Scriptures John and I were reading together was a suitable replacement. I lost my focus when I tried to pray. I lost my motivation and inspiration, too. My creative juices were quelled, and my craving increased. But like my dear husband, I couldn’t identify what it was that I was hungry for.
I have no doubt given my readers many clues here, but in the midst of my dearth I missed them all -or perhaps I simply ignored them. It was when the season of Lent began that I realized that I had crowded God out of my daily activity. As I read Ann’s post, and the posts of many other participants in the first “Walk With Me Wednesday” of the Lenten season (February 17th), God showed me that I had been trying all the wrong things to satisfy my hunger. I began once again to salivate, but this time I knew exactly what I craved, so I sought God’s forgiveness and determined once again to make some changes, this time seeking His help.
Two days later, as I was praying for direction, John suggested that we spend some time in Barnes and Noble. Over the past several years I have read something during the Lenten season to focus my attention on Jesus and the cross. This year I had yet to pick something out. As I browsed the religious book section
I am not snarfing down this delicacy; I am drinking it in slowly, thoughtfully; and it has created even more of a hunger within me, one that is easily identifiable. Each day I read a few pages of Buechner’s book as an appetizer, a prelude to the main course. Then I savor the morsels God shares with me in His Word and I tarry long in precious conversation with the only One who can create hunger in a way that also satisfies my deepest longing.
“Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.” Revelation 3:20 (NIV)
Now I realize that John has it right. It’s not so much the content of the meal as it is the company.
The topic for today's "Walk With Him Wednesday" is "Hungering for God." Ann VosKamp hosts this weekly meme at Holy Experience.