And lo, as I walk through the pearly gates, I can see clearly a great street, lined with free Blue Collar Joe’s doughnuts. There is a whole booth for each of my favorites…the Botetourt Bog, the Blueberry Pancake Breakfast (with smoke bacon dust), the OBX with all its yummy sugary sprinkles. I inherently know, somehow, that I may eat as many as I want, feel renewed and light, and will never see the evidence of them on my hips. It’s heavenly! And it oughta be considering the locale…
There’s some confessional honesty for you! There is a part of me that, when I dream of heaven, dreams of an image like this. There are a couple of reasons for my imagined “Rue de Doughnuts”. One, my husband and I just left the beautiful Blue Ridge mountains of Virginia and relocated to Houston, Texas. Blue Collar Joe’s doesn’t have a Texas branch (yet). I don’t know when I’ll have another Blueberry Pancake Breakfast all packed into yummy doughnut goodness. And two, a heaven full of mouth-watering food sounds downright dreamy to someone who loves food like I do.
I’ve been dwelling a great deal on that lately – my love of food. See, my relationship with all things tasty has unfortunately had an ill effect on my health. After years of investing too heartily in a relationship with food, I am now considered obese and at risk for any number of health issues. Fortunately, I have made great strides in the exercise department, making that a daily routine. The nutrition department is, however, another story. I struggle. A lot. But I struggle less so ever since I have had an interesting revelation. Wondering what my beef is (no pun intended) with food, I asked myself the hard question: Why IS it that I eat more than I should, or eat what I shouldn’t…especially when I am educated enough to know the consequences of such actions?
I knew what the answer couldn’t be. It couldn’t be as simple as “because it tastes good.” I have held on to a weight problem for too many years for that to be the defining problem. Nothing tastes that good. My recent introspection revealed as much, showing me a problem much deeper, and with many implications: Fear.
I harbor a fear that I won’t be comforted.
Perhaps a lot of us do.
I think many of us allow our desire for comfort to blanket the consequences of our choices; especially when we long for relief from life's challenges. But choices motivated by fear are not choices befitting one who has been set free. (Romans 8:21)
It’s a good thing, then, that I was recently reminded, “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.” (Matthew 5:4) As I have been writing for weeks, God is coming to all of our senses, calling us to belong to Him. There is freedom in belonging. This week, God is appealing to my taste buds. I have uncovered the truth which fear plays in my culinary decisions. Digging further still, my excavation reminds me that at the deepest core of my being, there lives an appetite for that which has nothing to do with raw calories. The truth is, if am to be comforted, I need to spend more of my energy heartily investing in a relationship with a different kind of food: Bread...the kind that nourishes not the body, but the heart.
“I am the Bread of Life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty.” (John 6:35)
Perhaps then, as my relationship deepens, I’ll begin to envision walking through the pearly gates into a city in which the aroma of freshly baked "bread” awakens and delights the appetite of my soul. I will find that the key to the City, then, has nothing to do with dark chocolate. It has everything to do with a taste of the Divine.
The best part? The comfort of heaven doesn’t have to wait until we walk through the pearly gates. The Kingdom begins now. Go ahead, take a bite. I know you’re hungry.