February 6 is sun-soaked thus far - the sort of morning sun that lights up just the top halves of trees with gold and spreads warmth that weaves its way through the lingering predawn chill. I'm sitting in a guest bedroom - propped up against feather pillows - with a delightfully expansive window, a snuggly bed, clean ivory carpet, and freshly painted, bare walls surrounding me. I'm warm, content, and reveling in that Saturday-morning-lazy-feeling that's so frustratingly enticing on a 6am weekday.
Downstairs, I have free selection for my breakfast - Cheerios, steaming pancakes with syrup, fried eggs, toast with strawberry jam, fresh fruit, coffee, hot tea... All at my unbridled choosing. Or, on a whim, I could venture out to eat, with all sorts of delectable yums to lure me.
There's also the fact that I'm presently typing these words. Here at my fingertips is a lovely contraption -a laptop. It affords me instant connection to videos that make me wee with laughter, news from across the planet, momentary communication with friends, and any nugget of information I might desire - from beneficial to banal.
Should I feel the need to change outfits (hoodie and blue sweatpants fit this moment like a glove), I could do so at least 2 dozen times without re-donning a single article of clothing.
I'm cloistered - padded with ammenities and delights and options and satisfactions. Most call it "blessed." And I'd say that too... in a narrow way.
But right in the thick of these "blessings," I've rubbed up against the sort of raw, real, piercing, aching longing that renders me oblivious to any pseudo-comfort these conveniences provide. Like filling a swimming pool with a teaspoon, I can see straight through their inadequate promises of gut-level fulfillment. An old friend once described himself thusly: He said, "Emily, I feel like this small, real person in the middle of a giant balloon. Surrounding me is puffed up air and air air... and then the massive balloon itself. It looks so large and imposing and sizeable. But the real me is in the middle -a small me... surrounded by billowing piles of nothing, which appears quite large." The idea's odd. But it's spot-on, I think. We live and move in this life much like giant balloons bouncing up against one another. All of that air that's padding and surrounding us consists of movies and television and fashion and chatrooms and parties and internet and iPhones and games and toys and sex and sports and cars and and work and novels and shopping and exercise and gambling and drinking and eating. I could go on. And on.
I'm not indicting all that 'air': it's not the enemy. But the enemy wants to use that air. He wants to use it to lull us into a counterfeit satisfaction that leaves us in desperate need of water but with a disabled thirst mechanism. He wants to fog and muck up our thinking so that we eat (and feel satisfied with) dry puppy chow when we have the capacity and appetite to be feasting on sizzling steaks and berry pies ala mode and pastries and chocolates and cheesy mashed potatoes and bubbly enchiladas.
I do this. I rummage through heaps of trash and trinkets with a fetish to find a Pacific-Ocean-size volume of water to slake my thirst. I play on Facebook when my spirit is hurting. I watch a movie when my mind is gripped with anxiety, weariness, or lack of hope. I expect a friend to satisfy my emotional chasms. I go out to eat when I feel like I have nothing to look forward to. I watch video after video on Hulu when I'm bored and complacent.
Teaspoon by teaspoon I dribble water into a cracked and dry ocean-bed of longing that's the size of the world.
My balloon expands around me, looking so big and full and satisfied. But it's just dead air. I bounce up against another balloon and we primarily discuss "balloon things." ... ie. movies, television shows, sports, food, reputation, fads, jokes, etc. And we both walk away with another puff of helium.
But the empty ocean doesn't lie. It demands more. It tugs at me. It confuses me. Why can't I be satisfied with my friends' love? Why can't I be filled up with good food, good movies, good exercise, good sleep, good achievements, good charity, and good fun? Why do I burn inside for an "it" that is deeper and weightier and meatier?
These questions are for the person inside the balloon. That's the legitimate 'me', surrounded by the expandsive nothingness. I thirst incessantly. I hunger without satiaty. I need - I crave - an inexhaustable reservoir, a delight that won't dim or dull or fade or disappoint or reach its end.
The lame and mute satisfaction that the enemy attempts to lure me into is betrayed by this unsatiable desire. His jig is up. I've tasted what he has to offer, and I wanted something wholly different.
I want the Treasure that is worth flinging caution to the wind, sliding on my shoes, and running like mad after.
I want Passion that sweeps me into itself and satisfies every nook and crevice and corner. I want a Rock. I want a relentless Hope. I want waves of unadulterated Love that will wash over me for eternity.
I want Jesus.
Nothing but Him.
No one but Him.
Take everything else away, and give me Jesus. He my passion, my prize, my pursuit, my pursuer... my pleasure.
He is the cascading, thunderous volume of water that crashes into my barren sea and - in an instant - floods it to fullness with cool, clear, sweet water.
And He is the fullness that fills everything in every way. Apart from Him, blessings are just air. In Him, they are full.
And I find myself in Him.