My mother always told me I am an old soul.
“You were always so serious,” she says. “Even when you were a baby.”
When I was six months old her mother—my maternal grandmother—was diagnosed with breast cancer. And she had to wean me from her breast for the struggle of it—the hard work of balancing the care of a newborn and that of her dying mother.
So maybe it’s not so strange that my first memory is that of hunger. I was three years old, watching mother try to feed four children with flour and water and a loaf of homemade bread. It was all she had. I still remember the acrid smell of scorched flour that permeated the kitchen as she made a pasty gravy to bind pieces of bread to our stomachs, glue to hold down the hunger pangs.
The hunger remained like a soft ache when the bread was gone. All these years later, after two children of my own and a life well lived into, the hunger still remains. It seems I carry a yearning with me always. The hunger keeps me serious, keeps me tethered to the old soul inside of me.
But this hunger that I was founded upon? When it stirs deep within me? It also keeps me tethered to Jesus. This season of new life—living into Easter—it reminds me that he is the Bread of Life.
We go to Jesus to be fed. To the Bread of Life, to the Christ; isn’t this where I must let my yearning lead me? Do I dare to embrace this hunger as invitation? And when I trust the Bread of Life to feed me, do I trust enough to let go of worry about that gaping hole inside of me? Do I trust enough to make room for joy?
Jesus tells us that unless we come to him like a little child we will never enter the kingdom of heaven. For me, that means letting go of the way I have always been, letting my old soul become unfettered and free. It means inviting play into my time with God. My grown-up play looks different than the play I engaged in as a child. Some days I invite God to come with me to an art museum, or a concert, a hike in a local state forest. Some days, we simply sit together and read. But I have resolved to make this a regular practice: once a week, I plan a playdate with God.
And the years are beginning to peel back as this old soul learns what it means to have the faith of a child.
My playdates with God? They have become a way to set the table and feed this hunger inside of me. This the only way that hunger can fill. When I let it awaken me to the moments of completeness in this aching, yearning world—to the joy of Christ breaking into this life again and again.
This is how hunger feeds. This is how hunger makes a very good beginning.
Every Monday I share one of my Playdates with God. I would love to hear about yours. It can be anything: outside, quiet time. Maybe it’s solitary. Maybe it’s loud and crowded. Just find God and know joy. I try to visit a few of your stories every week, so if you are a new visitor, be sure to let me know in the comments so I can welcome you. Grab my button at the bottom of the page and join us.We are trying a new linky widget, friends. I pray this one might eliminate unwanted links. Again, please forgive me for last week’s extra visitors.