|The kidlets harassing Dickens, their grandparents' cat|
My heart skips a little beat as I head to the car. I have just left my kids at their grandparents' place for about four and a half hours. I have an appointment this afternoon, but this morning is FREE. Wow! I will have uninterrupted work time at home for a couple hours at least, I tell myself. But first, I need to stop by supermarket and pick up the weekly groceries. *sigh*
What's wrong with me? I ask myself. I normally enjoy grocery shopping. Maybe it's because I miss the kidlets and their amusing chatter and antics. That must be it.
But that's not it. In the very ordinary task of doing the grocery shopping, I have had an epiphany. I am grieving the loss of the anticipation of pleasure I used to experience when grocery shopping. Woah, back up lady! Aren't you being a little over-dramatic??
Okay, let me explain how the epiphany came about. I was walking up and down the aisles, grabbing the items on my list. Pretty ordinary thing to do at the supermarket. But the difference today was that I didn't have my kids with me to distract me from my internal commentary. So I heard it loud and clear, and it went something like this:
Chips. You wish, sister. Walk on by, just walk on by. Oh, the kids are out of bread, you'd better get some bread. Mmmmm, doesn't it just look delicious? Remember that taste of fresh baked bread? Stop it, that's not helpful. You don't eat bread anymore, remember? Now what treat will help motivate Eliza this week with her toileting. Hmmm, the tiny teddies variety pack I suppose. Oh my goodness,why do I just want to guzzle these myself? Must make internal pact to not eat a single one, because if I have one I won't be able to stop. Oh dear, fair trade chocolate is on special. WANT WANT WANT!! No, stop it. You are on a chocolate fast...
By the time I hit the fruit and veggie area (which I leave til last), I was feeling rather sad. I wanted to cry, and felt very silly for wanting to cry. My internal monologue was sounding rather sarcastic by now:
Oh goody – green beans! Can't wait to snack on those. And look at these nice fresh carrots, won't they be satisfying. Oh, and for an extra exciting treat, here are some APPLES. Yum yum, right? Who would want chocolate when there are delicious royal gala apples up for grabs?
It kept going, but I think you get the picture. MAJOR PITY PARTY. Minus the PARTY bit (sugar and fat filled food)! As I waited at the register to pay, I unhappily noticed a big display a few metres from me, declaring that if you haven't yet, you MUST try the new Lindt carmel lindor balls.
Internal tantrum ensued. What?? My favourite chocolate – Lindt – have FINALLY put out a range of lindor balls (my favourite kind of Lindt chocolate) in my favourite flavour – caramel?? NOW, of all times, while I'm on a chocolate fast!! That is just SO not fair!
That's when it hit me - I am grieving the loss of the anticipation of pleasure I used to experience when grocery shopping. It wasn't a conscious anticipation, but I guess it was very much a part of my shopping experience. And now it's gone.
As I drove home, I gave in to the tears. I remembered a book I had purchased online out of the blue on Friday, as I just felt prompted to from an old scrap of a memory. It's called “Thrilled to Death: how the endless pursuit of pleasure is leaving us numb”. I don't particularly WANT to read it, but I felt prompted to buy it anyway. And what do you think was waiting for me as I drove into the driveway? Yep, the package with that book in it. I had a wry chuckle at God's sense of humour and lugged the groceries inside.
Don't get me wrong – I do enjoy a healthy salad lunch, and the taste of fruit. I just don't LOOK FORWARD to it. I don't experience a sense of anticipation about the pleasure it will bring me. Because it doesn't deliver a sensation of pleasure with each bite, and a sugar high that carries me through the next couple hours. Instead, it delivers a much more staid sense of wholesome “I know I made a good choice” satisfaction. Which seems much more boring, but carries with it a much more lasting positive consequence.
What started initially as a quest to lose 20kg in a year (or preferably 6 months!) has turned into quite a journey of self-discovery and, more importantly, a quest for a deeper experience of God's presence. I keep learning rather embarrassing things about myself as I currently am, but also gaining insight into who God wants to help me become.
I know this may seem rather trivial to some. You know, #firstworldproblems and all that. But, while the particular manifestion may be a first world problem (having access and means to purchase and consume too much unhealthy food), I believe the root issue is one common to humankind. The quest to experience pleasure is the drive for much of human behaviour. And what my head knows but my heart is still in the process of discovering is this: that I already have full access to the truest and only lasting source of pleasure that there is – intimacy with God.
In this moment, I know without a doubt that God is using this health quest I am on to strip away the distractions, to uncover the addictions and to use it all to point me back to Himself. And for that, I am grateful. Did you hear me? I said I am GRATEFUL! I can happily declare my pity party over (for now!), and my focus back on what really matters. Now that, my friends, is a reason to celebrate! BRING ON THE CARROT STICKS!!