I went grocery shopping yesterday and came home with three bags of food. After I unpacked them all, this is what my fridge looked like: really empty. How does that happen? How can I feel so full and ready for any food emergency one moment, and after one quick glance, realise that I have nothing, really?
Today is one of those days in my soul as well. I woke up with gratitude and fullness in my heart, ready to take on this day and all the wonderful opportunities that it presented. Then I caught a brief glance of some emptiness in my life and bam - my buoyancy was compromised. For the past few hours I have been treading water, trying to keep my head in a positive space, bobbing in and out of disappointment, and catching myself whining with pathetic indignity at the cement blocks of other people's stupidity that are tangled around my ankles. When I am staring at the empty refrigerator of my soul, these are my thoughts.
Where do I go from here? Perhaps I should slam that refrigerator shut and never think about its cavernous, aching holes again. Perhaps I should run off to the local convenience store where I can find a lot of beer, ice cream, and pizza to stuff in it. That should stave off the emptiness for awhile. Perhaps I will turn my attention to the food cupboard instead, which is stocked with familiar canned goods and crackers - nothing fresh, but long shelf life has its advantages. Or perhaps, just perhaps, I should open the fridge and sit with it awhile until the emptiness doesn't scare me anymore. I could look around and find out what's really in there, in those drawers that I never seem to open a lot, and on those condiment shelves that go untouched for weeks. I might be surprised at what I find: some things past their expiry dates will need to be tossed, but hey, I had more orange juice than I thought. Maybe I could use this opportunity when it is not laden with fruit to give it a good cleaning. Maybe I could write a list of yummy fresh foods that I really want in my life and make a point of finding out where these can be found.
I am discovering that developing into a mature and solid person means taking times to sit with my pain, my emptiness, and my disappointments. If I don't expose them to the air and give them some time, like all wounds, they will fester and gangrinate instead of heal. It is a discipline of love to sit with someone and let them pour out their soul in a cathartic cleanse, so why can't I have the patience to do the same with myself?
Come, soul, don't be downcast. You are not alone. Invite Jesus to sit here with you and then face the void. Let the anger, the stabbing pain, the dull ache, the wounds of neglect and rejection start to seep out. Let the dullness deflate and crumble; a soft and willing heart is irresistible. Let the hidden fears and scummy lies bubble to the surface and be skimmed off. Come, soul, don't rush away. Come. Sit. Look. Seep. Be made clean so that you can be filled with all things fresh and delicious.