Monday, October 30, 2006

The Price of Ignorance

Our bookkeeper fashions pretzels with chocolate and sells two-dollar bags to raise money for her church. And I eat them in quantities that is, for sure, an affront to God. Yesterday it was cookies. The shame I feel outweighs the sheer quantity of food I take in. I’m not overweight yet. But as each pound returns, it deftly wipes its pudgy feet on the welcome mat and slams the door with such finality, there’s no doubt it’s here to stay.

Why not just one donut? Was it necessary to eat two this morning on my way to therapy, after I had promised myself that I would behave starting today? It was a new week God damn it! One would have been plenty – but two brought me closer . . .

I close my eyes and breathe in slowly through my nose and hold my breath – remembering the rush, the slow descent, the tide of calm rising within me, carrying me away from this godforsaken place as the drugs fulfill their intended purpose – their only purpose. I let the air in my lungs grow stale. My cells innocently protesting this unexpected deprivation. I let the feeling mature – it delivers its own pseudo-high. Again I crave more. Closer.

I’m disgusted at my weakness. Feeding a hunger not of my gut, but of my soul. An insatiable hunger to know you God, now that I’ve glimpsed your face, felt your touch, know your love. But the cage I occupy provides so little room – barely enough for a man to breathe, the crushing press of its bars a constant reminder of the price of ignorance. A sentence without forgiveness - the price of choices made blind to your love. I pray for my release daily. I pray that I may celebrate the love and compassion, which fill me in this tiny space – my corner, my universe.


Natalie said...

Before you can release yourself from the cage you need to accept fully that you're in it. Then you will relinquish the sugar and find your way through those bars. I know what shame is like, i feel it all the time. But on your journey to forgiveness Dennis, forgiveness you will find x

Anonymous said...

"A sentence without forgiveness - the price of choices made blind to your love" Wow, Dennis. Wonderfully woven and very emotive. We try to fill that insatiable longing with anything we can find, like more than one donut. I love Krispy Kremes!

Susan Abraham said...

A highly individual spirituality surely, Dennis.
Poignant and reflective.
Thank you.

Poet with a Day Job said...

Thank you for writing this, besides being a beautiful and moving piece of prose - well, I am identifying so much I want to cry! And, at the risk of sounding too preachy, when I get like this (and with the time change, I have been in this "fill the hole" phase for a while: none of my pants are fitting anymore) the one thing I know, surely as night is night, is that I am not weak. It isn't about my willpower. It's about realizing that I actually have no power. That I am a person who fills holes with food. That this is a thing that I do. Period. A character trait. Why it is important for me to say this, to understand it this way, is because if I get into the weakness/shame spiral, I will only eat more, because it just makes me feel worse about myself. Remembering, every day, that I feel afraid, that my desire is too big for me to handle and reminding myself that I am human, and flawed, and make mistakes, makes it easier for me to stop making them, slowly. Not all at once, but every day, a few more healthier choices.

Dennis said...

Natalie: Thanks for your comments. You made me think. It’s a complicated place to be for me. There’s a lot going on in this poem around spirituality and my inability to fully give it a voice. A lot of the struggle comes from shame – not just in connection with the eating, but also with wanting to speak my truth about my faith but being afraid/ashamed to do so. Thanks!

Robin – Your comments are always wonderful and much anticipated. We used to have Krispy Kremes here but they went out of business. Believe it or not, I always thought their donuts were too sweet (if that’s even possible). I actually couldn’t eat them without feeling ill!!

Susan – thanks for visiting and for your thoughtful comments.

PWADJ – Thanks for your in depth thoughts and kind words. And most importantly, thank you for reminding me that I have no power at all! How true! Most of what I’m talking about in this piece flows from the pain of wanting a fuller more significant relationship with God, but quite knowing how to achieve that, partially because of constraints in my life which keep me from pursuing my faith. The resulting emptiness drives me to do things I don’t like to do like overeat. Thanks!!!

michelle said...

Your prose is quite beautiful.

We cannot eat ourselves closer to anything, to fullness, to faith, to love. For a long time, I distanced myself from God, and last year I decided that it was time to return. I consumed all that I could, but it didn't bring me closer to faith. It may have put me on the right path, but I don't think there will ever be a time when I can say I am full, I am here - because faith really is all about wonder.

Anonymous said...

Those Krispy Kremes are very sweet. I can only eat one. I think they're also full of fat and grease! Luckily, I only have them once in a while, when my husband runs out for a dozen after our daughters have a sleepover. They always want donuts. Probably because it's a treat. Actually, the pretzels with chocolate sound

Dennis said...

Michelle - thanks for the compliment and as always, you make me think! I appreciate your wisdom.

Robin - thanks for making me laugh!