My tummy rumbled and my heart ached as I set out on a “clear my head” drive. It’s calming to get away and hit the road sometimes. Especially when things seem complicated and confusing. When I need to figure life out. And when I need to hush the chaos.
Somehow in those moments, my car auto pilot settings drive me to fill the void. I reach in the paper bag as I drive away and a stray fry jumps overboard to join the others. I look down and spot the fry graveyard in the crack between my seats. I can see them, but my arm cannot quite reach them. Petrified french fries mostly, but also the remnants of a healthier choice in one lonely little crouton.
It was supposed to satisfy my hunger, but guilt follows close behind. It was supposed to fill my empty places, but it just fills out my fat jeans. Still hungry. Still empty. Still searching for the magic thing that will finally curb my cravings.
I can’t even begin to explain the source of the problem. But I know it’s a problem. I can recognize the symptoms as easily as the common cold. But I have yet to find the cure.
What do you reach for to fill your empty places?
Maybe it is french fries like me, but maybe it’s something else. Shopping, alcohol, food, gambling, drugs, and so on. The list grows when we add in the small things like reality television or Pinterest or Facebook to fill our emptiness and numb our pain. They are all numbing agents of one form or another. Something we reach for or go to that will apply a short-lived bandaid to the yearning.
Oh, and by the way, on that long list, the only things I haven’t turned to at one point or another are drugs and gambling. The rest of the list I know from intimate experience. Good golly, sometimes I even enjoy a cocktail while eating fries and watching a Real Housewives marathon which is pretty much the winning trifecta!
But what if we reached for healthier things to fill up on?
God. Prayer. Community. Friendship. Gratitude. Love.
What if those where the things we turned to each time we are running on empty?
How would our lives be different? Better?
Less guilt. Less shame. Less regret.
More enlightenment. More faith. More comfort.
Just for the record, I’m not giving up french fries for life here. And I like me some wine!
But not to be used to fill the space that is meant for something else. Something positive. Something that I can feel good about afterwards. And something that won’t cause me to need elastic waisted mom jeans.
I am re-thinking how I fill my empty places. Are you?