Yesterday I read something about the Sand People of the Kalahari. In their cosmology there is something called the Big Hunger. The Big Hunger is far larger than the little hunger that tells us it's time to eat. It lies deeper than the stomach. I think we all have the Big Hunger.
I have this hunger. Sometimes the Big Hunger is a very Big Hunger, clenching my insides, driving me to God. Sometimes I actually go to God. But, sometimes I don't, and I stay hungry and wanting, and dying for God's presence.
I believe that if we hunger and thirst after righteousness we will be filled. I'm thankful that I see the fruits of righteousness in my life. My kids can be so good sometimes. They make me so proud of them, and people say to me things like, "I can't believe how good they were in church this morning". I think of those kind words are a gift. A grace, really. In those moments I feel a sense of being filled. But, it doesn't eradicate the Big Hunger. That stays around, insistent and daring me to even try to act like I'm content.
I think David, the psalmist, knew the Big Hunger. I think when he said he panted for the courts of the Lord that is what he was talking about. I've been thinking of that Big Hunger all day. I seem to be so hungry, and I keep trying to eat, but nothing seems to satisfy me. Crunchy, salty, sweet, fatty, it doesn't matter. I have all these tastes, but they don't fill. They fill my belly alright, but apparently I'm experiencing the Big Hunger in a Big Way. And I can't eat my way out of it.
Maybe, it's the fall. The season when the depression hits like a force of nature, and all the worst of my habits are magnified. I don't sleep at night. I eat too much. I have no energy. My mind races, or slows to a dull hum as if all my thoughts were reduced to being background noise.
Yesterday, was one of those days that I wished that I were in Heaven. I wished that I could spend a few minutes with Jesus, face to face, and not have to worry about the troubles of this world.
But, as loneliness for God goes, I've got it pretty good. Isn't that what the Eucharist is all about? There is that part of the Divine Liturgy that almost always makes me cry. We sing, "Lay aside all earthly things," and I can hear the haunting voices of my brothers and sisters, even now, as I think of it. Lay aside all earthly things, for in a moment, we will be transported, and the Holy Spirit will do this amazing thing, and suddenly, in the chalise, will be Christ. And we will partake of Him.
And for a while, He will fill us. Until we find ourselves back to our lives, working and playing and toiling and sleeping, and somehow we get through the week, until Friday night, when the Big Hunger stuns us with it's intensity.
Oh, Lord Jesus. Just a minute of your time. I'm so hungry, Jesus. I'm so very sad.