Hunger

I woke in time for morning prayers (a victory in itself). The ground was soaked with a recent rain. I was sitting while our university chaplain was reading from the prayer book. And right there in between silence and quiet prayers, my stomach growled.

And I don’t just mean a quiet growl you can pass off on the person who is sitting next to you and shrug it off. I mean it was quiet and no one else was around me. And my stomach growled for a good thirty seconds. (I mean, it might have been more like five seconds, but “one Mississippi, two Mississippi, three Mississippi, four Mississippi, five Mississippi” is a long time when everyone in the room knows your stomach is trying to talk to you.)

Still I didn’t get worked up about it. Don’t sweat the small stuff and all that, you know. But it reminded me of a truth I’ve come to push down lately. My body has been telling me how hungry I am.

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteous… reads Matthew 5:6.

In my spiritual formation cohort class, we read a chapter about Sabbath. The class came at the best and worst time. I had just come back from a weekend quiz meet, which took me away from getting anything accomplished. I spent all day Sunday (save for my church and youth group commitments) to try to dig out from underneath my to-do list. It felt like it was pulling up, and I could barely breathe.

I woke up Monday still stressed with unfinished work. My roommate mumbled in her half-awake state, “Why are you up so early?” My response was almost like that of a crazy person. I am not even sure I used complete sentences. I think I was like, “Too much. Can’t get. All done. Going. Crazy.”

And my brain heard the words that came out of my mouth and I was like, “What is wrong with me?”

I sat in class and we talked catch-up (“How have you been since we last met in April?”) and Sabbath. I shared about how it has been since being back: “I felt like I grew so much spiritually this summer that being back at MNU has felt like taking two steps back.” I shared without a single tear, which rarely happens. The professor for that class is so genuine in his concern and care for every student, but he looks at me and I just want to cry.

Then my roommate shared, and I felt the tears streaming down my face.

I cried several more times on Monday. Each time it pointed to how exhausted I felt. (My roommate told me I can’t complain about how busy I am if I can’t let something go. And since I can’t let anything go, it looks like I can’t complain.) My tears and exhausted pointed to a hunger deep within me crying out.

I am so hungry for rest. I am so hungry for God.

I drank Pumpkin Spice coffee and made a breakfast burrito. And I am about to eat some frozen grapes. But that’s not the hunger I mean.

I am so hungry for God. I am hungry for the bread that matters most. Today was morning prayers, where we receive communion. As our chaplain broke the bread, he said, “This is the bread of heaven.” I tasted heaven, and I hunger for more.

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