Archives for posts with tag: Healing

Food equals Love.” The quote on their wall arrested me. It has been a long time since I’ve loved food, or felt that food was loving. Eating, for the gutless, takes guts. It is an intentional choice to live, to survive. Eating for us is not romantic. It hurts. It burns. It shames.

But the quote brought me back to someplace that my soul once lived, to the tiny patch of roughed up earth that unwillingly rooted my narrow selection of plants. The words wafted up into my nose the way the chives and basil once did. I suddenly remembered scrubbing my nail beds before snipping those fresh greens into a salad and giving thanks for the goodness. Food was love, and I loved it.

It hit her then that every strawberry she had ever eaten — every piece of fruit — had been picked by callused human hands. Every piece of toast with jelly represented someone’s knees, someone’s aching back and hips, someone with a bandanna on her wrist to wipe away the sweat. Why had no one told her about this before? All food is won by someone’s labor…

What We Came For by Alison Luterman

In those days I used to give much and reap much, and I understood eating as a byproduct of living a certain kind of caring, serving life. My greatest error at that time was in fastening my attention here and there on calories, forgetting the real matter at hand.

Robert F. Capon exhorts me to see the real matter: the miraculous in the rudimentary foods I have ceased to notice. Take an onion, he directs most spiritually. Plan to spend an hour with it. “The first order of business is to address yourself to the onion at hand… The two of you sit here in mutual confrontation.” This meeting becomes a session, enlightening my awareness of situatedness, creatureliness, and my need to notice.

But I am irked with Capon’s transcendent experience. Grasp the onion, he quips the delightful Russian fable, and it will lift you to heaven. I’ve resented the onion from the first post-surgical moment I spent with it. I don’t believe that the place it took me to was heaven. I hope not.

Today I can’t look at a green leafy without suffering  what do they call it in polite company?  the trots. Before the colectomy I had been treated with dietary restrictions so diverse and difficult that I believed this new lifestyle would be quite palatable. I didn’t understand that the colectomy was a marital breakup. I didn’t know how loveless meals would become.

The experience of suffering seems to drive a wedge between me and the flourishing, nourishing, feral Bread Life. The meals I once blessed I curse. My hands have ceased to serve and prepare and touch the earth. They reach for the simplest, the easiest, the most bland. In so doing, I have ceased to reach for the sacramental. And so I sit with the onion, and I pray…

O Lord, refresh our sensibilities. Give us this day our daily taste. Restore to us soups that spoons will not sink in, and sauces which are never the same twice. Raise up among us stews with more gravy than we have bread to blot it with, and casseroles that put starch and substance in our limp modernity. Take away our fear of fat and make us glad of the oil which ran upon Aaron’s beard. Give us pasta with a hundred fillings, and rice in a thousand variations. Above all, give us grace to live as true men – to fast till we come to a refreshed sense of what we have and then to dine gratefully on all that comes to hand. Drive far from us, O Most Bountiful, all creatures of air and darkness; cast out the demons that possess us; deliver us from the fear of calories and the bondage of nutrition; and set us free once more in our own land, where we shall serve Thee as Thou hast blessed us – with the dew of heaven, the fatness of the earth, and plenty of corn and wine. Amen.

-Robert Ferar Capon

Capon, Robert Farrar. The Supper of the Lamb; a Culinary Reflection. Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1969. Print.

RAWtools: turning AK47s into farming tools

“My people will beat their swords into plows… and study war no more.” –Isaiah 2

Yesterday was a struggling day for me. Wrestling with God always leaves me limping. This photo appeared on my Twitter feed like a stream of water in a desert place. How exciting to see life cultivated out of death…

The waiting is the tortuous part. One doctor waits on another. One order rests on another. One test result must arrive before another. And so we wait with baited breath and knotted stomach and tangy, singed hope.

The waiting feels to me like wasting. If there is a time bomb in my body, ticking wildly toward its destruction and mine, why is everyone taking so damn long to find it? One doctor suggests another theory and a few more possible tests and I want to knock their teeth in because if that was a viable theory and a helpful test, why wasn’t it run A WEEK AGO? And I know these surgeons have real lives and they cannot wait on me hand and foot… they have real lives, sure… but so do I. So did I. I had a life once and it was not wrapped in a green sheet gown or stabbed through with needles or diced and dissected into fragmentation. I had a life like they do. “You’ll have to wait to see her. She’s at a birthday…” I went to birthday parties too once, you know.

Will I go to any more?

Will I have one of my own?

I used to want a chance to die.

Now I want a chance to live.

How long does that take, doc?

********

God is waiting too, I think. He has not shown up yet. Maybe like Dr C, he is crashing a birthday party. Maybe he’s waiting on… himself? Is he conflicted in his purpose here? Is he weighing out the risk of bending me further, stretching me farther, testing me harder? I’m a stubborn ass. I won’t break yet. Not today, anyway. Does he want to see how close I can get to that crucified place where even he knew forsakeness? I fear he is.

*******

What if it kills me?

I’m afraid that I will die before I have a chance to make myself immortal.

I’m afraid of living vicariously through Jake and never becoming my own self. That I will leave the earth and he will be all that is left of me, and then he will move on.

I’m afraid of shriveling up, or worse yet, I’m afraid that there never was a part of me that was alive enough to shrivel. I’m afraid that there is a part of me that was always dead and stifled, and somehow it is taking over more and more. It is the fecal decay… the undergrowth of my soul… that I’m afraid of. It has gotten hold of me. It is destroying me with a slow leak of poison into my gut, a cesspool of waste, and a myriad of unanswered questions and unlived possibilities.

I’m afraid I’ll die here waiting for an answer that was never there, waiting for a doctor who couldn’t know, and on a God that didn’t show up.

Waiting is the worst part.

The conversation is: purity in [a specific] Christian culture, a culture that was home to me for many years [North American, Protestant, evangelical, fundamentalist, etc.,].

Do any of these voices echo your experience? What insights would you add? How could you change the conversation?

1) The Modesty Rules: Is a Woman Responsible for a Man’s Lust? “Heteronormative modesty codes not only objectify women by making them responsible for the thought life of every man they encounter, but make men feel weak, guilty, and vulnerable for experiencing basic sexual attraction.”

2) Virginity: New & Improved!

“Christians say that the world objectifies women through immodest dress and a permissive sexual ethic. However, by idolizing sexual purity and preoccupying ourselves with female modesty and an emphasis on hyper-purity, Christians actually engage in reverse objectivization.”

3) I am damaged goods

“Darling, young one burning with shame and hiding in the silence, listen now: Don’t believe that lie. You never were, you never will be, damaged goods.”

4) Beauty vs. Sexuality

A broken worldview that reduces human behavior down to a predictable set of gendered, inevitable physiological responses shouldn’t be the framework for a Christian discussion of beauty, desire and the longing for affirmation.

5) Modesty and Hating Oneself: The Darker Side

“Lust is not about sexuality, but about power and control… We, as a church, need to change the conversation. We need to first teach men that blaming women for boners is not a healthy way to go through life, and that sexual attraction and not feeling sexual attraction are natural and acceptable identities. We need to broaden the conversation to talk about control and objectification rather than how one person is sinful for having a perfectly normal sexual reaction to attractiveness. We need to talk about how this thinking fuels a culture of rape.”

6) How the Modesty Doctrine Fuels Rape Culture

“It is this idea that women need to cover up because men can’t help themselves, quite simply, that fuels rape culture in our society today. The conservative evangelicals I grew up amongst might not know it, but their ideas about gender and sexuality really do promote rape culture.”

Matthew 5:8… “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.”

And then comfort comes.

Sometimes it’s quiet and gentle. Other times it’s more loud and abrupt. Sometimes it’s with a cup of tea. A nap. A book. A few quiet hours. With words poured out on a blank page. With some reassuring advice. A hug. A long run. A road trip. With yelling in my car. A baby’s snuggles.

Comfort comes with the acceptance of what’s happened and the desire to move forward.Comfort doesn’t come by forcing organization upon chaos, but by making sense of it. Organizing and beautifying the chaos, disaster, and heartache would be a discredit to it. The goal is to find hope and peace at the end of it without degrading the pain, but easing it in the light of truth. God’s truth. The only truth.

And that’s when comfort comes. Seeing chaos through the pure light of God’s truth.

-andrea