Okay, apparently my last post was not tongueish-in-cheekish enough, and some of my readers considered it a cry for attention, which is pure irony, when I think about it. Not that I don’t welcome the plaudits, because most people to be noticed. We all want the big ratings, the responses:
The question is, how big is the abyss? How much is enough to fill it? Perhaps it depends on what we’re shoveling in. For example, one of my dear friends is trying to fill his abyss with Oreos. That would take a lot of Oreos.
Another is filling his abyss with Xtreme Performance RZRs. This seems to be more likely to fill an abyss more quickly.
But then there’s the friend who is shooting for most vacation houses—one in Paris, one in Aspen, one in Half Moon Bay. Now we’re talking quicker satiation, right?
There are also the intangible hungers, the ones that we can’t dip in milk, drive, or decorate. We crave beauty—our own and the possession of it. We crave experiences—helicopter skiing, deep sea diving, treks in Nepal, and taking our selfies on the Great Wall of China. We want more security; we want more knowledge; we want more connections; we want more accolades; we want more money; we want more entertainment. We want more power. (I did watch the first season of House of Cards.)We need more peanut butter.
Wait, that sounds ridiculous, doesn’t it? As though enough peanut butter would satisfy my existential longings. Peanut butter is not existential! It can’t penetrate the dark, echoing caverns of my soul! How silly.
And yet, that is the same madness as the others. There is nothing, not one thing, that can relieve the hunger of my heart except relationship with God. If we genuinely have a God-shaped vacuum in our souls, it is bigger than the entire cosmos, boundless in its capacity.
Ask Eve. This one thing, this forbidden fruit, it’s all I really need to satisfy my physical hungers, my longing for meaning and wisdom and beauty and identity. Just this, despite the fact that the world is offered to me and God himself is walking in the garden calling my name. Just this, just this one thing, just this one time. It will fill me. It’s all I need.
This one thing—you fill in the blank—is a drop of water flung into a furnace of longing. It is a pebble we’re trying to use to bump a planet out of orbit. It’s a child’s puzzle piece we think will connect with quantum string theory.
It’s an abyss, that empty place within. How much do we really need in order to make it less echoing, less cavernous, less lonely, less hungry?
Unless we fill it with the Presence.
How happy we would be if we could find the treasure of which the Gospel speaks; all else would be as nothing. As it is boundless, the more you search for it the greater the riches you will find; let us search unceasingly and let us not stop until we have found it. ~ Brother Lawrence
Oreo image from Wikipedia