Spiritual Hanger

I grew up in a large Latin family. Whenever there was a holiday, my mom would go out and buy all of the ingredients for the evening meal. We were never allowed in the kitchen because that’s where all the women were prepping and cooking and making the most delicious smells happen. 

My mom would hand me an apple in the morning and tell me I would have to wait the rest of the day to eat anything else because everything else was ear-marked for the evening meal. You couldn’t even have a glass of milk because that was already being used for some other recipe. 

After all the relatives arrived, and we had kissed everyone on the cheek, hugged them, said hello, what seemed like 40 days and 40 nights would have gone by before any food was ready to be eaten. By that point, I felt like I was DYING. 

I was hungry. 

I was angry. 

I was hangry. 

Hangry. How many of you know that feeling when you’ve waited a little too long to get your lunch, your blood sugar is low, and you’re feeling so irritable that every little thing makes you feel like you’re gonna snap? 

When you’re famished, you can’t think straight. Maybe you waited just a little too long to go on lunch break, thinking that you should get just one more thing done before you leave your desk. 

Yep, I’ve have had a few go-rounds with this hangry thing myself lately.

During the last 27 days of quarantine I have been hangry. It is not a physical hangry, since, let’s be honest, I’m closer to my refrigerator than I have ever been and have also rediscovered Pop Tarts!!! 

No. The hanger I am feeling is deeper. 

My spirit is hangry. 

Being spiritually hangry has been at the center of my thoughts this week. Why? 

Because, sometimes we forget that we need spiritual food, too. 

Most of the time communal worship is like my chicken soup for the soul. A moment when we can gather around the altar table and God serves us multiple, delectable courses to satisfy our hungry hearts: God’s word proclaimed and preached and Christ’s body shared in bread and wine. There is music and the Holy Spirit shared in the fellowship of community. 

We are fed and invited to go out and invite others. 

But like many of you, I have had to learn new ways to nourish my soul in virtual spaces. I’ve had to navigate Zoom, Google Hangouts, and What’s Up? (or is it WhatsApp?) to feel like I am connected to my community. 

The meal feels different. 

At first, I did not like how it felt. 

But as I attended more and more, these virtual ways of being together began to grow on me. 

I have found that there were some gatherings that do not satisfy my spirit’s appetite, and some gatherings that do. 

I think in this pandemic, we tend to ignore our hunger pangs. We tell ourselves that we need to be parents, students, partners, and employees first. We need to get this one final Zoom call out of the way first. 

When we do that, we ignore who we are: spiritual beings made by God for community. 

I tend to forget who I am called to be in these times, too. 

We all need to take a moment to grab our favorite Pop Tarts and gather with the ones who feed our spirits. 

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