Satisfactory

snickers

The thing I hate about the Snickers bar is that their catch phrase tells me they really satisfy. Yet, whether it’s because I can convince myself a King-sized constitutes a square meal, or when I’m rifling around the bottom of a packet of “fun sized” while sitting in a nest of wrappers, it occurs to me they are not satisfactory at all.

The world promises many things that satisfy. I suppose the question is, though, do they really?

The first thing I find myself unsatisfied with is myself.

I’m going to pose a feeling to you which you may be familiar with- loneliness. I find that one can be in a crowd of people, including their own peers or family and still feel completely alone. Even when you make “friends”, be they a handshake, Facebook companion or years of carefully constructed relationship, you can still find yourself completely alone.
So, once one figures out that they’re dissatisfied being alone, they can do what generations of people have done, and “prepare a face to meet the faces that we meet” [-T.S. Eliot]. We play the part. This usually means we end up with a few groups of people who are fine, and a lot of people go through their entire lives being “fine”. Doing the forty hour famine, I went and had rice with soy sauce and salt for two days, whetted with tea and water. And I was fine. You could survive on protein shakes instead of food for a long time, and you’d be fine [I think]. You can settle for the second best date, for a dress a size too big, for paint a shade off what you wanted and be fine. But not satisfied.
And yet there is a promise of someone who will accept us for who we truly are. Someone who actually made us who we truly are, and has a plan for that person. Someone who died for that person. “6For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. 7For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die—8but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” [Romans 5:6-8]

Even when it comes to those I cherish the most in the world, I found my thirst for connection would not be quenched. One of the greatest problems with humanity is that we’re all human beings. As much as I love the people that I love, I know they can let me down. Some call it “the God Hole”, however, I’ll call it “the Love Hole”. I feel like everyone [caution: bold statement] knows something is missing. We can cram whatever we please in that hole, but it doesn’t work- square peg in a round hole. Whoever I love will fall short, as I will for them. Until I came across a perfect, flawless love, offered to me. Because this God doesn’t just love, He is love [1 John 4:8]. He satisfies this need for love. I was considering that we have evolved to survive. This is where competition comes from- competition for resources, pride, land, ownership. Competition leads to separation- you can’t win if you’re all on the same team- and from there comes a losing side, displayed in poverty, slavery, war. But where does love come from? Selflessness, kindness, doing good things for no reason? Where do giggles come from? Hugs, tickles, smiles, joy- pointless, sentimental, nostalgia that opens us up to weakness amongst people who should be only out for themselves. We are built to lean towards love, and to search for it. What if there is only one thing that is good enough to truly satisfy?

Finally, I had to face the question of whether I was okay with death. For years it has been religious verse non-religious in this sector. “Religions only make up a concept of something after death because they can’t deal with the idea there may just be nothing.” However, as much as you can ignore it, we all yearn, especially for what we cannot have. A few instances include The Biggest Loser, food. The Bachelor, love. Lord of the Rings, the ring. It’s human to yearn. Someone said to me the other night that they have just never felt the need for a religion. As much as I may try to convince you there is a hole in your life that you cannot fill, whatever you attempt to put there, you don’t have to believe me. And you can keep trying to live life to the fullest, and keep trying to make your own decisions that will lead to the best life you can muster, but for what? A good job that will end up going to someone else, a family that will continue without you, to be immortalised forever on the internet. Every connection you make, every smile you smile, every word of wisdom you give to someone tottering along on this journey, reduced to nothing but ashes [or mulch…]. And I can’t accept that. That, for me, is the least satisfactory thing of all. The deal I can’t make. A man named Jesus said don’t accept that- the watered down, depressing, defeated capitulation society has created as a prize for second best.

Life is much like a movie that many people stop watching ten minutes before the end. They’ve ended perhaps in the scene where it looks like the protagonist can’t win the fight. They end maybe when the couple that are meant to be together get on separate flights. They end when the hero dies, and they convince themselves that that’s okay, and it’s satisfying, and they’re glad they spent $15 watching something that left them wondering what should have been. But there’s an ending to this story that has made Hollywood rich, because they know what satisfies an audience. An ending that resonates with everyone- a love story of reconnection between someone who was lost and has been found, and someone who has been welcomed home.

13Jesus answered and said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will thirst again; 14but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life.” John 14:13-14

So, my question for you is this.

Are you satisfied?

The Necklace

A friend challenged me with a thought a while ago, about the necklace that I wear. Since I became a Christian, and indeed for a bit before that, I’ve worn a cross around my neck. She argued that Jesus didn’t die on a silver cross, or a diamond studded one (I don’t wear one of those), but a plain wooden one. My response was that one of those would rot in the shower. However, the thought holds merit, and so now I’ve got a bit more of a thoughtful response.
There are three different types of crosses that people wear as far as I’m concerned.

Firstly, the shallow cross. It bugs me to the extreme that you can buy rosaries at tween jewellery stores next to fake flowers for your hair and panda earrings. That you can get it printed on shirts in average shops, or on anklets at Bondi. Not because I don’t think it shouldn’t be available for people to wear, or exclusive for Christian stores, but because as with so many things, it’s losing its meaning. One of the first commandments is to not take the Lords name in vain. “In vain” means for no purpose. (Eg; I went to the store for Fanta in vain because they had no Fanta.) To say “oh my God” and then to cheapen that to “OMG” is literally to take the name of someone who should be holy, whether you believe in Him or not, and to use it for something worthless, or worse, a snippet of gossip or as a precursor to something nasty. “Holy” means set apart (you are getting an education today, boy) and so, to use Gods name like that, instead of in worship or calling out to Him- actually using it for address, like you would with anyone else’s name, grates me. And to use the cross, the most holy symbol in Christianity in vain, as a fashion symbol by people who do not know or do not care what it means, conjours the same emotions. With my friend, I agree on that.
Then there’s the crucifix, more commonly worn by those who follow Catholicism. This is get, and I respect, to a degree. The extent to which I understand it is this- that you’re carting around a reminder of the suffering Christ went through in order to reunite us with God. However, an often gruesome depiction can weigh on the soul. Something that was meant to represent love turns into a guilt ridden constant image of what we put Christ through on the cross. While to remember that is very important, arguably there’s a better alternative.
The empty cross. A pastor once said that Christianity means nothing if not for the resurrection. Yes, you can say we were united with God again through the death, but by whom if not for the resurrection? A great teacher, a mere human? What hope is there in the words that we will all rise again to be with our Father if no one has gone before us? The empty cross is a symbol of hope, because we are reminded of the cross, and the pain, and the suffering that is in this world. The man who came to fix that, and the God who orchestrated it in love. But the empty cross which I wear around my neck is a reminder to me that I will rise amongst the saints and the sinners to be with my Father in heaven. A God who has triumphed over death. That’s the God I follow. 

Furthermore, wearing this cross around my neck isn’t just a reminder to me, but a symbol to the rest of the world. I am a Christian, and proud of it. A symbol every day, where ever I go, that I’m a representative of Christ and I’m going to do my best to show that through my actions. The first action, though, is the cross itself.

    It’s made of a precious metal because it’s precious to me. I don’t want it to rot in the shower (although I have actually broken two metal crosses and lost a third) because I want to wear it every day of my life. 
That’s why I wear it.