Monday, February 05, 2007

Refrigerator of Life

My son David has an insatiable appetite. This is especially true when it comes to sweets. Not only can he not be satisfied, he wants more than his share. The other night we had ice cream. This is one of the boys favorite treats. They had these Mr. Incredible Drumsticks. David sat there and ate all of his ice cream. The moment he was done, he got up very quickly, threw his trash in the trash can and went straight over to the refrigerator. He said, “Momma, I didn’t like that one.” It was all gone and he had devoured every bite of it. Now he said he didn’t like it at all and that he wanted something else. This wasn’t the first time he tried to use the “I ate it but I didn’t like it” plea. It seems ridiculous and, unbelievably, almost cute.

It reminds me a bit of myself. There was a time when I approached life like that. What was going to make me feel good? I didn’t know it at the time, but ultimately I was searching for contentment. It started in high school and I really sunk in my struggle in college. I tried knowledge and achievements. But, I figured out pretty quickly that an excellent score only felt good as long as you weren’t thinking about the next test. I tried physical pleasure, but the substances and activities were a fleeting euphoria and I came down harder than I went up. I tried relationships: finding validation and purpose through loving others. I found that it was wonderful but it didn’t give me peace. No one was making me completely happy. I could never totally make others happy, either. Every time I tried some pleasure, I was much like my son, thinking in essence, “That was good but I want something better.” My search for meaningful relationships, led me to realize that there wasn’t a person that I could fulfill or that could make me feel satisfied. I struggled with love. Love was so amazing but it could be so fleeting, too. People could endearing but hurtful. What did it mean to love? I struggled to trust people and to be willing to love with my whole heart. I had to realize that love cannot be seen or quantified, it just has to be trusted. It was then that the Bible verse that I learned as a kid, “God is love” became real to me. God cannot be seen unless you believe he is there. Through my own selfishness and ignorance, I hadn’t been able to see Him or much else besides my personal fulfillment. I realized there was truth in faith in God and love. I decide to have faith. I decided to trust there was a God who loved me a sent his son to cover my failures. I took a baby step- a commitment to trust- and I was granted peace and something I didn’t expect: Joy. My relationship with Christ has given me joy. Now instead of coming to that refrigerator of life, looking for the next pleasure so I can be happy, I close my eyes and pray and my soul is full of lasting Joy.