Words come alive to me in pictures. I think it’s one of the ways God communicates with me, as if the words spoken are a seed and his breath the germination and the picture that follows the blossoming flower. It was like that for me again today in the counseling office. It’s amazing to trace the trail of thoughts that eventually lead up to these pivotal moments where images birth life. Today, it was as repetitive as listing off the things I used to do (a.k.a, performance) that I equate as spiritual growth, or at the very least, a direct correlation. I hashed through them with an intonation of failure, counting them off on my spiritual fingers as jugdment for my lack of pursuit of God.
I used to read my Bible every day and study scripture. I used to play my guitar and worship for hours by myself. I used to write God beautiful songs. I used to lead others in worship, also playing and singing for hours of prayerful worship. I used to be involved in prayer ministry. I used to have the desire to serve and give of myself more to others in need. I used to talk about God more with people. I used to have more to give....
I used to spread before God a feast.
Whoa, hold on, I felt something coming.... and then, the image. The tears pooled in my eyes’ seemingly bottomless reservoirs and spill warmth down my face. That’s it. I used to have a feast for God, and now, I have nothing. Nothing but famine.
I saw myself laying a feast at my table for God in the tiny studio apartment I used to inhabit, back in the day before my life completely changed. We ate fairly well. I was a good hostess, with a good income and a nice spread of fare for him to dine on. We were laughing and enjoying the abundance together.
And I saw us now. In the tiny little apartment I share with my mom, where I sleep on a mat on the living room floor. There is no table, just a blanket spread on the carpet. We are sitting cross-legged, dining on... dry saltine crackers. I am sad, because there is nothing to eat in the house, nothing delicious to feed him. I sit before him and cry, heaving shoulders, quivering lip, snotty nose. I am hungry, and he is with me in that hunger. He smiles at me and puts his arms around me, taking the cracker I offer him, now soggy from my tears. He is unphased. I expect him to pack up and leave, find another house, another roommate who can feed and serve him better than me. But he just sits with me and eats that cracker as if it’s the best meal in the world. And it seeps into my soul, for a quick moment, that this - this moment - is what the marriage vows are all about.
In sickness, and in health. For richer, or for poorer. In feast, and in famine. He’s not moving out. He’s not finding someone else. He hunkers down with me through the famine, reminding me to breathe. Reminding me that it, too, will pass. The clouds will open and release their rains and the seeds that have been planted will be watered and the crops will grow and we will once more feast. But he’s not daunted by my famine.