Monday, March 15, 2010

Food.....a decoy?

Well anyway, another funny woman, Erma Bombeck, wrote that she could always tell when she started a new diet. On that day, she would ransack her sofa, lifting up each cushion to find those M&M peanuts she knew she had long ago dropped. Food. Hmmm. Is it what we eat or how much time we spend denying ourselves donuts?
I'll circle back around to the word nourishment, but you'll have to wait a minute. Because as we know, (Spoiler Alert!) it's real nourishment that we seek.
I am from a huge family. That's three meals a day multiplied times all of those years. That means my mother had to supplement with fillers like rice and spaghetti and grits and potatoes. (Carbs anyone?) It was simply too costly to go the route of braised asparagus when feeding eight children. Sometimes, for a treat, we got salads. (Salad: Mostly 1000 Island dressing with lots of croutons. Salad.) When my boys were little and with me in Bell's Grocery Store, Cole would say, "Mama, please may we get some grapes and Kiwi?" My answer, "No, that costs too much. Go find those cheese puffs." (I am so sorry, Cole. Please forgive me. I'll FED EX you some fruit tonight.)
Taylor was in elementary school from the time he was 4 until he was 14.(He's...well, you know what he is.) Taylor had a phenomenal, incredible, gifted, beautiful teacher, Mary Sgarlato. Each day we sent snacks with our kids. One day a carefully worded note came home from Ms. Sgarlato that read, "Maybe you could vary Taylor's snacks some to include a more healthy variety of foods." What??? What on earth was wrong with Cheetos and slices of Velveeta? But, I listened to her and made changes. The very next day I sent Doritos and miniature marshmallows. (Kidding!) I can't remember what I sent after that, but I'm guessing I gave sliced apples a whirl for a week or two. Old habits are hard to break.
What I know is this: Eating (Food) is so often not about nourishing our bodies. We trick ourselves into thinking that the sugary icing or the hot buttered roll is going to fill up that hollow place in us---that hollow place we have not even identified....out loud. If our bodies are true containers that offer a home to our souls and our spirits, what is it that our containers need that feeds us?
What is real nourishment anyway? What nourishes your soul? What nourishes you so much that you forget to eat lunch or keep going right through dinner? My guess is that it might have to do with being engaged---being in contact--being connected with yourself and with others. My sister told me yesterday that for her, emotional pain is being estranged from herself and from others. Yes, I would say that could cause a hole in our hearts for sure.
How do we fill in and fill up that hole---bridge that gap----circle back together---back to our holy selves? So,here's my big fat spiritual question:
How do we make the hollow ......hallowed?
Real nourishment calls for us to reach out, to connect, to notice one another, to acknowledge, affirm and touch one another.
News flash: Krispy Kremes are a decoy for real love--for nourishment. It's true.
I'm sure I'll probably crave donuts for as long as I live. That's ok. What I want to crave along with those, however, is real, complete, nourishing food....for my soul.

And, when you find those M&M's under your sofa cushions,
keep them.
But send us all some love.
Our souls are hungry.
(Ok, on second thought, and maybe just send me a few of those M&Ms--in an unmarked box.)


  1. I love your post about the nourishment of the soul. Thank you. Martin

  2. I think stuffing food in our mouths is the only thing we know how to do to fill the hollowness. I feel hungry, I eat. I feel thirsty, I eat. I feel lonely, lonely lonely with the bewilderment of raising this child, I eat. I feel left out, left off, just plain left...well, you get the picture. Physical hunger is the only need I have that can be readily addressed, so I try the food thing with all the other needs that are so much harder to satisfy. To my disappointment, I find those needs to be insatiable.


Thank you so much for your comments. I know it's scary to put yourself out there. I really appreciate your being on this journey with me. You really are brave..