Anger Sad Glad
It's been over a week now since my taste buds went on strike. They won't work. They don't work. The only time I even get a feint glimmer of what it used to be like to taste my food is the millisecond after I blow my nose. And even then, all I get is a fleeting moment of aftertaste. I don't have a cold so I'm not blowing my nose so I can breath. I'm blowing my nose every couple of minutes while I'm eating just so I can have this short moment of taste. I'm a pathetic sight sitting at the dinner table with my box of kleenex, wishing for more.
I can't taste anything. NOTHING.
I've found myself working the food over in my mouth trying to get some sense of satisfaction from the texture. A couple times I thought I was actually tasting what I was eating but quickly realized I was "tasting" a memory of what I knew it tasted like from having eaten it before.
At first I ate normally. I even had a few deserts. There is a half eaten ice cream bar in the freezer. I've taken a few bites out of it, but I'm saving the rest for when I can taste it. Otherwise, what's the point?
Each time I sit down to eat or grab something out of the fridge, I am hoping my taste buds will kick back into gear. I'm pretty discouraged by it all. I don't look forward to meals. Utilitarian. I eat because I have to, not because I want to.
One refrain has repeated itself over and over again in my mind: "WE WERE MADE TO TASTE."
We were made not just to eat our food, but taste our food . . . not just nourish our body to keep it alive, but feed our hearts so we'll actually live. And feel the living. God did not create us for "have to." He created us for "want to."
There was a time in my life when I could not taste anything spiritual. I put plenty of food in my mouth -- even good food. But I was not able to taste any of what I was eating. Some who walked closely with me during this season in my life recognized the desperation in me. I was so hungry. Not because my stomach was empty, but because my taste buds were so dead. Desperate to taste, to live, and to feel. Reaching for anything that would remind me I was alive.
Psalm 34:8 says, "Taste and see that the Lord is good."
I've heard this verse a million times. But it makes more sense to me when I read it in the context of the rest of the Psalm.
How blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him . . .
Who is the man who desires life . . .
The eyes of the Lord are toward the righteous, and His ears are open to their cry . . .
The righteous cry and the Lord hears . . .
The Lord is near the brokenhearted, and saves those who are crushed in spirit . . .
The Lord redeems the soul of His servants; and none of those who take refuge in Him will be condemned . . .
And the words create a flavor explosion in my mouth when I read it in the context of the past six years of my life.
The following are some journal entries I penned in the summer of 2005 . . . the last time I remember not being able to "taste." I can still feel the darkness of my words scrawled in a notebook. I can still remember crying out to a God who hears and who comes near to those desperate to live.
"Father, my heart is cold. . . and its been a long time since I've really tasted the joy of my salvation. Is it possible for what feels dead (my heart) to come back to life again? Spirit of God, breath life into these dead bones. Not by anything I can do to earn it, but because of your GREAT mercy."
"I cant stand the pain and disappointment. I just want to be numb. But where do I go? There is nowhere to hide because the pain and disappointment and fatigue and expectations come storming back. My head hurts. My heart is numb."
"I can't handle being told more of what to do . . . what I should be doing. What I'm not doing. I don't need more how to's. I'm dealing with issues of my heart."
"Lord, by faith I would rather lose all I have than to miss YOU in this life. DO WHAT YOU MUST."
Last week (six years ago to the very day) I wrote this:
"I remember highlights from my old life that are now just OK compared to the life You (God) have given me. You have loved me and been gracious to me. You have sat me at a banquet table!"
"Taste and see that the Lord is good." Yes, taste.