Posted by: cmittermeier | May 6, 2014

The imposters who fail to satisfy

I don’t quite know where to begin, its been a jam-packed four weeks.  Holy Week, Easter, Divine Mercy, and my son’s confirmation this last Saturday.  It was certainly not what I expected.  On the Wednesday of Holy Week I decided to fast, truthfully I can’t explain that well even to myself.  You see, I’ve got hypoglycemia, I’m in the group that is medically exempt from fasting.  I’ve had too many ambulance calls because my blood sugar went low, too many IVs as doctors tsk tsked and reminded me to eat every protein two hours.  But I just knew I was to fast.

When Thursday came, I decided to fast on it as well.  One full meal, breakfast and then two slices of toast at each lunch and supper.   At Mass on Holy Thursday there was one moment of awe a the beginning – and then it all went plain.  I was not feeling hungry or showing any other signs of low blood sugar.  Friday came, fasted again, but because I was at a retreat my lunch was a bowl of vegetable soup instead of toast.  Not only was the retreat and ceremony devoid of consolation, I think I might have even dozed off during the Cardinal’s homily!  And it was a great homily – you can read it online if you like.  It was so strange to be watching everything as if it were just an empty ritual.  That night we attended a passion play – again – nothing beyond empty ritual.

At this point I knew this was important.  I was getting to experience something very different.  This took “dry” to an entirely different level.  This had to be God.  This is what those who aren’t connected see – and boy was it YUKKY! They need many prayers people!  Holy Saturday was my last day of fasting, and again, the dryness remained.  As the time for the vigil neared, my body began to respond the way it should have.  As my symptoms returned, so too was the curtain lifted.  The vigil was enchanting.

But here’s where things get weird again!  Yes, I was expecting some major consolation after such a dry Triduum.  We had a lovely Easter dinner with family, and the next day it started.

“It” was the cravings.  Huge, strong cravings for chocolate, candy, ice cream!  I binged for ten days straight.  If I thought the dryness was yukky, the cravings were hideous.  All those nasty addictive behaviours came back – the sneaking around to get a fix, the hiding of evidence, and the cravings!  Just another one, just another one, just another one…. please, please, please.  It was really super yukky.

It lasted for ten days and I have been slow to recover from it.  I have known for quite some time that my path away from food isn’t due to my own merits.  It felt really gross to be left with cravings that knew just how to get to me.  I so did not like this.

As I came out of it, many lessons were relearned.  Food, Sex, Drugs, and other Addictions do not satisfy.  They are imposters, and they guide many of us off track.  For a moment or two they will appear to make things better.  But they don’t satisfy, and in the end as I started to regain control and drink from the font that does satisfy I am thankful it was only a short time that I relapsed.

Truth really does set you free, but you have to be open to it.  The turn around came when my husband gently tapped my shoulder and calmly said, “I think  you’ve had enough” (after my fifth ice cream sandwich).  If I’d closed myself off to his help, I’d still be in it.  Days later, as I sat with my psychologist, I had to be courageous enough to get off that track and start another.  I had to trust there was a different way… the list goes on and on.

To be set free is hard for me to map out, but thankfully I don’t have to reinvent the wheel.  My church is old, its got a lot of great stuff.  At times like this I often go back to Ignatius.  He too noticed that there were things which satisfied, and things which didn’t last, only he was much closer to God when he started to write them out.  Not to mention he worked on them for a good many years, so I don’t feel bad for posts that ramble and don’t always say what I’d hoped they would.  Many of the lessons relearned were about choices.

‘You aren’t choosing an action, but the consequences’ I once wrote on my facebook wall.  God never forces, but he puts a lot of markers along the way – also known as consequences.  Some encourage us along a good path – like how my breathing improves when I walk every day.  Others warn of danger, like when I start to get colds after a few days of processed sugar.  The fact that eating junk wasn’t satisfying was a big marker I was off track.  Yes, I was allowed off track for a very good reason.  Not just to humble me, but to remind me of those still on that journey.  After the last few weeks, trust me, I ain’t spouting empty empathy.

Choices aren’t easy to face, but till they are we’re stuck in a downward spiral.  Ignatius knew all about decisions, I strongly encourage you to read the link above.  It helps one find the Peace.  Once you’ve got the Peace, all those complications, hiccups, well, they shrink back to their real size and all of a sudden you’re wondering why they hindered you in the first place.  Step out of the peace, they come back.  Yes, Ignatius even lists why the peace leaves, he really knew his stuff.

I shall end off here, it is time for my walk now that the delivery I was waiting for arrived.  I am thankful for my time of dryness, of temporarily experiencing my slavery to food for it has helped me to become more compassionate, and most importantly, it has helped me cling even closer to my God and as always, kept me from getting too big for my britches!


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