Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Thoughts on Hunger

Maybe I should include a warning here.  A warning to the effect that I've been sick all day.  And sickness has forced me to take it easy in the easy chair.  And this is my attempt to still be productive...with medicine head.
What Happens When I have  Time to Think - or Rather When I Don't Have Time to Think
by Shanna Ramsdell

My life granted me a blessing this past holiday season.  It granted me time to think.

I went years without time to think.  YEARS.   An entire season when my children were small and my days were filled to over flowing.  Schedules, diapers, two am feedings, a husband who worked late, not enough money, people -- too many -- needing some type of ministering too which felt all too important every single waking hour, and the constant pressure of making sure a house, slammed full of little people had creative, learning activities going all the time so they weren't watching TV.  My life often felt like a run on sentence.

Possibly, I didn't know I needed time to think.  I made time to pray.  I made time to read.  I made time to study so I could finish college.  I made time for all the needy people.  I made a few precious moments available for friends -- who weren't needy people -- just normal people that loved me.  I made all the time in the world for the needs of 4 small children -- but I didn't make time to think.

So this holiday season, I read Bread and Wine and spent time thinking about HUNGER.  MY HUNGER.

It became apparent to me that I hunger in many ways, for many things.  I am hungry for not just large amounts of food, I see that now.  I am also hungry for new experiences, rich relationships, creative endeavors and passionate experiences.  All that, I set on the back burner for many years, to feed others.  And, I fed all my various hungering with the same old thing, OVER AND OVER -- the one thing that was easily accessible during that crazy, chaotic season of life.  Food.

In the days before my surgery, I confessed to Billy, I feared if I gave up food -- there would be nothing else in my life that was enjoyable.  My brain knew that couldn't be true.  I see my children living rich, living deep, enjoying -- and not over eating.  I see that Billy goes day after day without needing sweets -- several times a day -- and maintains a healthy weight.  I knew it was a lie.  On paper it didn't make sense -- but I also knew it was real in my emotions, in my imagination.

You know the story in the Bible about Abraham and Isaac?  The one where God asks Abraham to slay Isaac.  Well at the risk of letting my imagination get carried away here -- that's how surgery was for me.  When God asked me to surrender the last 2 chicken nuggets on my plate, I wanted to do it -- with all my heart -- but my hand shook with fear every time I tried.  I just couldn't make my body line up.

So...I asked a surgeon to help me do it.  I handed him the knife so to speak.

During my first week of recovery, I had such a deep feeling one afternoon -- that I was now living naked. No buffer -- nothing to make a hard day easier -- and a momentary panic set in.  I said out loud, "People shouldn't live this exposed!"  I decided to just take a breath and continue on...

Yes, I'm living naked.  (That's gonna be the title of my book.)

And, as a result I've been FORCED to find other things that are enjoyable.  And to prioritize nourishing my self in all the ways I find I need nourishment.

God help the person that touches my fuzzy socks.  I NEED my fuzzy socks.

I MUST have a good book.

If I have to forgo the light bill (figuratively speaking) to go to the store for avocados, sweet chili rice cakes, crystal light grape energy, and olive oil.  I will  do it.  Because the things I like are just as important as the things everyone else in this house likes.

I hike on the weekends.  I dream.  I think.  I blog.

I talk.  I feel and say what I feel -- and then tell myself -- it's only a feeling.  It's only anger.  It's only sadness.  It's only loneliness.  It's only whatever.  I don't need to mask it with cookies.  Feelings change.  They go away.  They can be dealt with.

For my birthday, we went skiing...because I really wanted too.

I sit in the hot tub some nights when it's cold out but the full moon is bright.

Don't touch my water bottles.  I love my water bottles like they are one of my children.  Victoria said she thinks I love my water bottles more than my children.  I say they are equal.

Don't touch my music.  I love it and it's important.

Sometimes, I'm happy to drive you to that thing -- and forgo a hot bath at 10 pm because you just REALLY want to fit in that extra prayer meeting.

But, sometimes, if you don't have a ride -- the answer is no -- because I need an evening to be quiet and think.  Thinking is super important.  For some of us anyways.  

I'm knitting a scarf.  I'm painting the front bathroom for the 4th time -- and I'm happy about it -- just go with it.  

I spend a day cooking.  SURE, HARDLY EVER -- but when I do, it's because I want too -- and then I spend 10 straight days not cooking because I want too.

Some days, I plan all these things -- and I rotate them in 45 minute intervals.  BECAUSE that's how I feel.

Some days, I lay in bed with p.j.'s on and read -- all day.  

I wear make up when I want too -- and I forgo it when I want too.  Frankly, I feel great either way.

I've never been a size small.  My mom and my sister are.  But, I'm like my dad.  A large -- even on my skinnest day.  Growing up, I felt bad about this.

I don't any more.  

Don't hear me wrong.  I'm not a member of the "Fat is Beautiful" Club.  Obese is unhealthy -- anyway you want to see it.

Right now though, I am a member of the "Beautiful is Beautiful" Club -- and I believe that in my life I get to say what's beautiful and what is not.  The girls in my house happen to think that "Comfortable is Beautiful" most days. I wasn't comfortable in an obese body.  But, I didn't know to say that I wasn't comfortable -- because uncomfortable was my normal.  So, I just said in my young heart that I wasn't beautiful and that there was nothing I could do about it.  My trajectory was off.

95 lbs downs and life is turning another corner.  Most days aren't about what I can't eat.  They are actually about what I need to eat.  What do I need to nourish MY body?  The revelation of nourishing myself or feeding my hunger in a variety of ways -- is as new and startling to me as if I'd discovered treasure.  It's about what I put in -- NOT just what I keep out.  What I'm called too, not what I'm called to stay away from.

I feel new.

Right now we are learning to shoulder more -- to carry more -- but it oddly feels lighter.

Thankful for a sweet season.

For kids growing well, who are rightly connected to their parents -- and seem to enjoy a spacious place to live and grow and decide.

For a husband who is in his right mind.  Who is back to loving well.  

For a business that grows -- and allows me to a flexible schedule.  And sick days.

For ministry that's become richer as we've stopped feeling the pressure to have all the right answers.

And for time to think.

Praying for a year of healing for my family.

Thankful for progress.

Living naked isn't as bad as I thought.



  1. Husbands probably should not comment on the wife-blog. But, I cannot help it. You are one of my hero's Shanna Ramsdell. I still remember the first time I saw you "watching me", ok, not really, from the sidelines of the Vollyball pit on the first day of College. I don't know how, but without words, in my heart, I knew you were someone special in my life. 22+ years later, 20 years of marriage and I am still looking over from the Vollyball pit, trying to figure out what is so special about that girl "watching me" from the sidelines. I am happy to say that you didn't stay on the sidelines, you jumped in with both feet and I am so thankful we been on the same team ever since......keep pushing it baby.....when you hit 100lbs lost, we will have a huge party with ribs, cake and ice cream....wait....now I'm getting fat.....I see what you're doing there....stop it...