I had both the good and bad fortune to be raised in a household that was more saturated with adages, idioms, and otherwise eccentric phrases than Bill Murray is saturated with self-loathing and melancholy in a Wes Anderson film. And if you’ve ever seen Life Aquatic, you understand the gravity of that statement.
My brother and I were never about to get in trouble, we were “cruisin’ for a bruisin.” We weren’t hungry, we were “starvin’, Marvin.” And we were well acquainted with out of context quotes and references to movies that were just barely before our time like “you know what I mean, Vern?”, “I will gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today,” and a pronunciation of “be sweet” that sounds more like “buy swite” which my mother swears is from something, though my brother and I still maintain that she only says it because she knows it grates on our nerves. Of course, that just means she’s fulfilling her parental duties, so I appreciate it in that capacity.
All that to say, though, as I’m sure most people have experienced, this upbringing with an alternate phrase for seemingly every situation has led to some impulsive responses on my part- responses that leave my company mildly baffled and occasionally offput. For example, I’ll finish up a statement with “you know what I mean, Vern?” and really lean into it with my voice, only to find a response of a cocked eyebrow and apprehensive nod as the person I was talking to slowly doles out some distance between the two of us.
Tomorrow will officially mark one week that I have been in Virginia for my internship, and it is hard to believe it’s already been that long. When I was interviewed for the job, I mentioned that I wanted pretty structured office hours and time, and boy has that been delivered! And it is awesome. I’ve probably gotten more work done and learned more about actually managing my time practically in the past 5 days on the job than in half of my last semester.
I hit the ground running and I’ve kept a steady pace since.
One of the concerns I had going into this, knowing it would be pretty intensive, was my own maintenance. One thing you learn as a Bible major is that there are some troubles associated with your faith also being your work. You dive into some text and have to work through it for the sake of your grade, and sometimes that overshadows diving into the text for the sake of your soul.
That’s part of the reason I’ve been trying to focus so heavily on looking for God in things like puddles on the side of the highway and ten dollars’ worth of comics for another person. Sometimes I feel like it’s easy for us to hit a stride, whether it’s with a new job, a relationship, or our faith, and that stride is good, but then we start to notice all the things associated with running. We’re thirsty, we’ve become unaware of our legs and haven’t been feeling each and every step. We Forrest Gump it up and sometimes realize we’re running just for the sake of it. So we turn around and just start running again.
I’m making it sound like I’m having some sort of crisis. I’m not. I’m actually having the opposite, I think.
What’s happening is that I’m making those realizations.
I’ve realized I’m hungry.
I’ve spent a long time praying and wanting to be hungry. Because I know that Jesus told us that those who hunger and thirst for righteousness will be filled, and that sounds wonderful, but the problem with contentedness is that it is just that- content. And if we’re not careful, that can morph into complacency seemingly overnight. Part of me fervently believes, though, that that’s what Jesus wants from us. To realize that we are starving and that we are thirsty and that He is the only thing that can fill us. That we may lean and depend more fully on him.
I knew that hunger and thirst was absent for a while now. I wanted to want. And being here this past week has shown me so much. God has been good and has surrounded me with numerous mentors, as well as a couple old friends who haven’t given me the choice.
I am being fed. For the first time in a long time, I am truly being fed.
And maybe that’s what it took. It took being force fed a few bites for me to realize that I was truly hungry. And maybe that’s scary, too. When you’re hungry, you’re missing something. But that goes back to Jesus’ words, doesn’t it?
We will be filled. All we have to do is show up to the table and let him feed us.
This post is shorter than what I typically put up. I guess I’m just satisfied for now. Maybe you are, too. Maybe you’re where I was at until about a week ago. Maybe your desire for God is so total and you feel so helpless, the only way to describe your need is like a child making a familiar exchange their mother.
Maybe you’re starvin’, Marvin.
Wherever you’re at, know that you’re being called to the table, a table that offers so much more than food for the stomach, but for the soul. And you will be filled, you will be blessed. And that there are people in action in your life that will sit with you and feed you, and need you to feed them as well. What we’re hungry for is more than capable of satisfying. But somehow we will keep coming back for more. And that is truly great.