I had an interesting epiphany this morning. We do not know we are starving until we taste real food again.
For [fill in the blanks], we’ve been “too tired” to go to church. We’ve had too much to do. We’ve been over-extended/-committed/whatever. (and we were) We, legitimately, were running on fumes. Munchkin and I had Oliver! and Coach started soccer season. I had SO many work obligations I brought it home a lot of nights; against my personal commitment not to. Goals made at the new year still hang, unstarted (is that a word?) on the door.
Church was effectively shelved. A two hour commitment, once a week, was crossed off the list, in favor of a little more “rest.”
What we didn’t realize at the time was that we were also shelving two hours of concentrated family time; one of our family goals. Time to pray together – also a goal . A church where we could plug in – another goal. Two hours a week, dedicated to reminding us and reinforcing the kind of family we want to be: friendly, patient, kind, healthy, praying, and on and on. So, by eliminating that two hours a week, we effectivly hobbled our ability to meet almost every one of our family goals and many of our individual goals. Yes, that two hours were freed up but we were starving our family of fellowship, community, encouragement from the outside, accountability to something bigger than ourselves and a group connection to our Savior.
[Enter the Soylent Green metaphor]
Soylent Green is a movie that came out in the 70s and, according to wikipedia: much of the population survives on processed food rations, including “soylent green”. It’s a weird post-apocalyptic movie that came out in the 70s. People don’t eat real food anymore. They eat this soylent green stuff. It tastes better than other food rations and is more nutritious. After a VERY long story line (hello, 1970s, I know all the drugs slowed down your processing speed but it doesn’t translate well to future viewers), Charlton Heston’s character discovers this soylent green is made of PEOPLE. When people die, their bodies become this processed “food.” People don’t even know what they’re eating. At some point, Heston’s character aquires some steak and it’s like a treasure. It’s so valuable, they hide it until they are ready to eat it.
[return to today]
This morning, for the first time in months, Coach and I went to worship service. At our church. When Brother Andy began to preach, any sense of lingering tiredness fell away and we were just caught up in this sweet fellowship with each other, with the others in the room and with God.
It was during this time I realized I’d been starving for real food. Making myself be content with processed and manufactured rest, over time, my spirit grew quiet as my flesh began to “forget” what real food tasted like. Not that my spirit went away or was less present – I think it just waited for my flesh to get. a. grip.
Suddenly, my attempts to free up our time seemed laughable. Like I could re-create this feeling without spending the time in the pew. Like I really wanted to. My spirit laughed; not in a mean way, but in a joyful way. Making a joyful noise took on the proportions of the delighted oohs and aahs when Mom presents the family with the Thanksgiving turkey. We feasted on the scripture (Romans 8).
And, not for the first time, I said to God, “God, why did it take me so long to figure that out – the answer was right in front of me the whole time…” And I’m sure God just shrugged His shoulders and said, “I don’t know, but I’m glad you’re back.”
It was good.
We rested in Him.
We were filled.