I’ve come to notice that almost everyone, in one away or another, is a cheapskate.  

Sometimes, we can be very frugal with our money, something I should get better at.  Sometimes I’m a cheapskate when it comes to the food I eat, settling for something fast, cheap, and easy, rather than something that is rich in quality, taste, and nutrients.  When I do take the time to cook something more organic and less processed, I can feel the difference from my tongue to my mind, and the rest of my body chimes in with the Hallelujah Chorus!

The other day I ate enough jalapeños that I could’ve filled the Hindenburg with all the gas I had.  Ugh.

I’ve also come to notice most of us are cheapskates when it comes to our entertainment too.  I consistently hear people rave about movies, music, and literature that has very little creative value.  The storyline of most movies are the same, just rehashed and dressed up a little differently.  A lot of music is filtered to the point where as long as you have a good engineer, even Ke$ha can get a record deal.  And, need I say more than Twilight or Ted Dekker?

We’ve all got areas where we sacrifice quality for convenience.

Our soul, however, is something we can’t afford to be cheap with.  Within each of us, we have an innate yearning for deep, intimate fulfillment.  We crave many things, sure, like food, water, sleep, sexual intimacy, and so on.  

But, this is something far more profound.

All else can seem to be right with the world but that empty place still chews at our heart.  To treat this, we choose to be distracted, which is why we often elect poor entertainment, wannabe food and friends, and dare I say, spouses that we settle for.

We hope it will be enough.  But it’s not.  And what’s bothersome is most often, we’re unaware that we’re trying to treat our lethal disease with over-the-counter pills and still can’t figure out why things don’t look like the end of a Disney movie.

Even hobnobbing around at church isn’t going to satisfy the hunger we’re dodging.  Church, potentially, can be a wonderful community that is absolutely necessary.  But it’s an ingredient, not a dish, much less a full meal.

No, what I’ve come to find really heals my soul and sets everything in it’s place; alongside friends, good movies, music, food, and so forth; is solitude.  

Don’t misread me.  It’s not the end, but it is a very powerful means that, it seems, most of us are trying so hard to avoid.  It’s nearly a crime to get in the car with someone and not have the radio turned on immediately.  And ever since I upgraded from my ’73 Volkswagen, I’m as guilty as the rest of us.

“Silence is the language God speaks and everything else is a bad translation.”- Mother Teresa

 

 

There are few things on earth like going for a walk in the cool of the setting sun and feeling His breeze pass close around me, birds singing, and trees shading, looking brilliant in the sunlight.  Or, slowly driving through the mountains or countryside, windows down, warm music playing, or not.  

When I was in college I loved taking my pillow and laying on my driveway at one or two in the morning, just looking at the stars.  I couldn’t grasp how the One that made all of that, in it’s infinite depth and majesty, would care to talk to me, much less be tortured and die on my behalf.

There in that solitude, just the two of you, His presence can wrap you, hold you, love you.  It’s there He reminds me that He hasn’t left and that He knows very well what is going on.  

There, I can know, without doubt, that He is.

Sometimes, it’s also in these moments, alone with Him, that my heart swells and wrenches like a ship tossed in a storm at sea, feeling the weight of His glory and the dense heave of my conflict and pain being overcome by His love and peace.  There’s an implicit knowledge that something so much greater than all that we find ourselves fretting over is calling to us, enlisting us for the pursuit of our lives.  An undeniable necessity to tear after the mystery that He is, as if we would drown if we don’t.

Solitude and taking time to be contemplative on a regular basis is something that our brothers and sisters in the high church (Catholic, Episcopalian, Lutheran, Anglican, etc.) have made a priority.  Oh, how we could learn from them if we didn’t already have God figured out.  Their attitude toward the Eucharist is astounding, but I digress.

Anyway, some, I’m sure, will have trouble taking me seriously when I say that when I eat some of my favorite foods, He’s there.  I think, “This is what God tastes like.  It’s so good, only because He is good.”  When I see something, or even someone, that is beautiful, I know that it’s only beautiful because He is.  That thing, so lovely, is only a reflection of His beauty.

You know when you want so badly to stay under your thick, burrito-like, covers in the cold winter mornings, because it just feels so good?

That’s Him.  It’s warm and comforting because He is.  It reflects Him.

Pain can be reflective too.  But that’s suffering and something for another conversation altogether.

The song I’ve posted below, regardless of it’s angst,  has been timely for me.  It reminds me that though there are very real concerns in this world, the things that are truly important are quite simple and don’t cost much at all.  

So, why are we being cheap?

 

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