When does hunger end?
This morning I met Louise and Andrew (he introduced himself as Drew and said that it was more “manly”, I don’t fully know what he meant but I did tell him that Andrew seemed to have more soul.) These two humans were camping out the back of where my dad works (which has never happened before and was a rather strange sight in comfortable Surrey, UK). A two man tent for two people. I offered to get these souls some food and they politely accepted the offer. Upon my return with the food and coffee I knelt down and looked Louise in the eye, she was alone, I asked, so, what next for you? The breath in my belly wanted tell her to make better choices and that this would somehow wake her up, despite this alcohol heightened low point she found herself in. It seemed despite my judgement and compassion the only thing I could really know was that we really are all connected and one. I said to Louise that I hoped she would find the different choices available to her in her soul and that she was very beautiful. Words that resonated in me for my own condition and desire too. I really meant it. As I got up to leave Drew returned from a short wander to find somewhere to charge his phone. He said to me, “Thank you, what is your name? you are the second person to buy me something this morning. The first guy bought me a beer”.
For many years we survive on what we find on the ground everyday and I may be waking up to a wilderness state. It’s familiar of our every day and a provision of utter genius if we can fathom seeing it for what it is. It is not the food of our youth or even the substance we survived life on in slavery, but is more about the space in which it is found. It is manna in the wilderness (Exodus 16) and as we come to know in biblical text manna in essence is a question; What is this? Or even just What? It’s the same every day and is possibly the ultimate question of learning to live a whole being or wholehearted life, as Brené Brown puts it.
“What?” in present form can sometimes haunt the soul, like an echo of something ancient, or a painted a picture of something that ultimately is an illusion of who we think we might be in the present moment. I mean, isn’t this the question so many ask? What is going on? What is this all about? What is this I am feeling? What is the meaning of my life? What brought me to this point in time? The word itself swims in the verb of cause and effect but maybe, speaking for myself, I have been more comfortable with trying to define everyday provision with what I have created with my own eyes.
Today I have been meditating within a newness I feel in my belly. In the depths of my being where I am learning the essence of being totally open to God. It is with great intention that I seek and with an even greater humility that hunger might be beginning to end. The thing about Exodus 16 and the story of manna is that it was the “whole congregation of the Sons of Israel” that grumbled in their hunger and it was the early days after being drawn out of Egypt. It was the beginning of learning and nobody could have known how many years were ahead of them.
The compassion I felt towards Louise and Drew is something I reacted to because I have ancient present memory to its condition, it’s me because it is them but at some point the manna has to disappear. At some point the manna must become honey and milk. We must stop asking “What?” and learn the questions of our hearts that will lead us to commit our ways to the Lord in biblical based trust.
What might it mean in Isaiah 58 “To share your bread with the hungry, bring the homeless into the house and when you see the naked clothe them.” It all seems clear and I would love to expand what I am seeing in another blog, but right now these are possibly the easier parts to engage with in their physicality, but what about the next line, “and not to hide yourself from your own flesh?” For it is when what is hidden is not hidden anymore that we can know ourselves as one with another and in darkness know a greater light than ourselves, within ourselves. “Then your light will break out like the dawn, and your recovery will speedily spring forth; and your righteousness will go before you….”
Do you recognise hunger in your own life? Is there courage present enough to look at your story and to recount it accurately? Will Louise and Drew ever see their stories, their courage and their beauty? Will they know what is available to them? Will their hunger end? Will our hunger end and the grumbling stop?
As for me? I will meditate and encounter Aaron and listen to his words in Exodus 16 v 10:” “Come near before the Lord for He has heard your grumblings” It came about in these words that the whole community of the sons of Israel turned toward the wilderness, and behold the glory of The Lord appeared in the cloud.”
Friends. Thanks for joining me in the whirlwind. I hope you have gleaned something for your walk on this day. This is the season of transformation and new beginnings are ahead.