Spiritual Vegetables

Sometimes we would rather not do what is good for us—like eat our broccoli. I like broccoli, but the homemade hot fudge sauce I drowned my ice cream in last night was fantastic. I don’t recall ever applying the word “fantastic” to broccoli.

Here’s the thing, though: when I finally fix a spinach salad after a few days without vegetables, my body is so happy. It’s a little bit like that with living in and from a place of love.

There are days—a lot of days—when I wish that our achievement-oriented consumer culture told the truth, when I want to feel complete from finishing a project at work or finding the perfect dining table. There’s nothing wrong with either of these pursuits. Both of them deserve to be enjoyed, but that satisfaction is not going to last. Something will always come next.

Almost every day I reach a point where I think that staying present, reminding myself to approach everyone with love, and letting God lead are impossible and aren’t, after all, going to change the world. But you know what? They are.

We won’t be able to see it directly or prove it or explain it or predict it. That’s hard because we all want to be right. Maybe people can tell the difference between someone who is irrational and someone who is following a deep but invisible knowing, but maybe they can’t. Recognition is not the point.

Jesus asks the apostles whether they’re going to leave him, and Peter says, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.” This isn’t exactly a warm and fuzzy answer. Saying, “We’re stuck with you because you’ve got the best game in town” is not the same as saying, “We’ll never leave you because we love you and we think you’re great.”

But Peter got it right for once. We are told to love God and neighbor because only that will satisfy the yearning of our hearts, only that will allow us to see how we are already one, how our world—our universe—is already whole.

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