It’s amazing how things grab us. Against our will sometimes a face, a sound, a smell, a place will resonate so deeply within we are helpless to do anything but react. Hiking with some kids by the rapids one day, my coworker said, “I love being out in nature, it makes me want to swear.” I rolled my eyes at the incongruity. Someone else finding a puppy so tiny and cute he wanted to put it in his mouth. A teenager I knew commenting that being in nature made him want to smoke. And for me, listening to Rufus and wanting to lick the speaker (which I’m guessing would feel the opposite of pleasant). Evocative things, all.

I have pondered over the years these separate yet intricately linked comments. When an object pleases one sense, we wish to experience it with more–feel it, taste it, smell it, know it. How very sensual we are. Somehow, though, those yearnings are an invitation to a higher plane. Taste and see the Lord is good; Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God is one; Feel the nail prints, Thomas; prayers like sweet savours of incense; I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I’ve committed unto Him against that day.

These sensations call us, as C. S. Lewis said, further up and further in. Let me not stay by the speaker wishing I could eat the song, smoking and swearing in the beauty of the great outdoors and resisting the urge to put small adorable mammals into my mouth. Let me rather see them as an invitation to something sweeter by far. A stick figure drawing of an actual person. A scratch and sniff of a banquet I can hardly imagine.

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Took a month off to feel sorry for myself. As they say in Monty Python’s Holy Grail “I’m not dead yet. I got better.”

I run into the room and demand of you true love before I dash away again. I want the love of a life, I yell back over my shoulder, of course preferably tall, dark and handsome (unless of course he’s an elf of Mirkwood). You hold out your hand and offer the love. I turn up my nose-it’s not what I wanted. Love with skin on please. Love that has money and will take me places-the Cote d’Azur, around the world in 80 days. Someone witty and funny and smart who makes me laugh and makes me think. Someone who’s always there and loves me most of all. Someone who won’t screw up. Someone who thinks I’m neat; I’m beautiful; I’m a princess. Someone who won’t leave when my true self is revealed.

I heard all that, you said, and you offer me you. Not good enough, I say. I stamp my foot at you. I asked for French fries, you gave broccoli. I wanted cocaine; you offered bread. I sought Lethe: you delivered insomnia. No! With my whole being I resist the very givings of your hand. I want to keep my play food instead of the true you have. I want my cubic zirconia when you offer diamonds of great price. I know better, fool that I am. You ask me to release the security blanket so you can give true security. You place before me a banquet of life-the bitter and the sweet, and like an anorexic I refuse to eat because I want to control the when, the why, the where and most of all the who of my life.

How close to death must I come before I bow the knee? How much fear must I overcome to get to faith? How much languor before energy? You pull the small from my hand and yet I refuse the grand. I sit in the corner and howl, wanting it back-my baby teeth, my security blanket. I cannot move myself from the corner, for now I am too exhausted by my antics. Must I be picked up and carried kicking and screaming to the good? Shall I even accept it? After being led to the water will I drink? Or die of thirst the stubborn horse’s ass that I am in the middle of an oasis. And I yell at my kids for being childish. Pot and kettle-I am both. Blackest of black.