Watch what you fill up on
One of the things that has stayed with me is a conversation with two visiting Friends and two members of my anchor committee. One Friend was describing how he often spends part of Quaker gatherings driving another Friend around in search of a serious hamburger. We all laughed, but the visitors described their experience that when one is doing serious spiritual work, one’s appetite is increased, and the need for some serious protein is real.
Somewhat later in the conversation, one of the visitors described the sensation of being spiritually depleted after travelling in the ministry. She asked me to pay attention to what I fill up on in those times. Is it God's love? She pointed out that there are different spirits that one can absorb when one feels like a sponge that has been wrung out.
In that moment, I made the connection to the earlier part of the discussion, and recognized that when I had returned from FWCC, I had been so hungry. Not even always physically hungry, but I had eaten a lot. Given some of my other work of the last year, I am more aware of what I put into my body. I want to acknowledge to myself that when I need serious protein, I should choose wisely and do it sooner rather than later. I know I made healthier choices of what to eat, but I want to stay aware of when I am experiencing physical hunger and when I am feeling spiritual hunger. It is possible to stave off a spiritual need with food, but it is ultimately unsatisfying, leading to more eating, and still feeling empty.
The next evening, after taking one of the visitors to the airport, I needed to stop and buy some supplies for my home. It would have been very convenient to stop at the Target store on the way home. But I consciously considered that it would be overwhelming to walk into the huge, brightly lit, overly marketed environment. Instead, I chose to go to the regular drug store where I usually go, even though it wasn’t quite on the way home from the airport. I realized that walking into Target would be filling up on the wrong spirits, in a moment when I was spiritually tired. I also recognized that I had had the same reaction in the airport on the way home from Providence: that I just couldn’t buy one of the silly magazines that I usually enjoy reading on an airplane. Instead, I read my bible a little, slept a little, and tried to write a little.
This week, I am more tired, and still hungry. I’m also stuck/blessed with one child at home all this week, and the other child at home all next week.
But I’m trying to recognize when what I really need is more sleep, when I need conversation, when I need exercise, when I need food, when I need to write, and to try to get a balanced diet of all of these. One thing I don’t need is shopping. I also have a stack of books I want to read and/or review. But I am already full in my brain. I need to take the time to let off steam (download onto paper/blogposts) before I can take any more spiritual input.
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