Jed and Sarah Heads October 2009


The following is a response/sequel to Friday’s post.  I was really touched by the thoughtfulness and willingness with which those of you who commented commented.  I have to confess: I’m not sure how good I am at saying what I mean.  (See below.)  But we’ll get through it.  And it can be a good time.  And we can learn to love each other better along the way.

We can be both hungry and full.  Yes?  I mean, I’m living on lots of levels.  I’m banging on all cylinders.  I’m riding high and low, stretching out, tucking in.  I’m hearing eighty voices at a time and feeling wind on my face, blood in my wrists, tenderness in my heart, and hardness and apathy and the thrill of the ride all at the same time.  You too?

Case in point: My often-expounded Airport Parking Model of Happiness.  We feel emotions on at least three levels at any one time.  There are the almost instantaneous feelings of delight, frustration, discomfort, pain, etc.  This orange tastes good.  That man is good-looking.  Ow, rock in my shoe.  Am I blushing?  These transitory feelings are like departures and arrivals.

Then there’s short-term parking.  This is how we’re feeling today, the last few days, this week, the last couple of weeks.  When people ask, “How are you doing?” they’re usually asking about short-term parking.  It’s been a rough week.  I got an A on a test on Tuesday and I’m still riding high.  I’ve decided I really like my job, and I’ve begun looking forward to waking up in the morning.  Etc.

And there is long-term parking.  This is how we’re feeling over the course of the last few months, the last few years, the general aggregate of our lifetime, etc.  My life is a good life.  I live constantly amidst fear.  Loneliness is always with me.  Faith sustains me.

We feel on all (at least) these three levels at any one time, right?  And sometimes contradictorily.  My life is pretty good overall, but this week has been really hard and I’m not presently happy, except that sunset is so beautiful I want to tell someone.

The Airport Parking Model of Happiness, my eighty internal voices, and what they represent are the reason that I am not—I don’t know—I’m not as concerned about a lifetime of feeling hungry as I would otherwise be.  Because I am perhaps too aware of at least this reality: We each have a LOT going on.  Inside of ourselves.  In our minds and hearts.  And bodies.

My mother said it this way: “We may feel hungry sometimes because what we want isn’t good for us or is too much.  But it’s not like that’s it, we’re left with hunger.  People who struggle with addiction when they join the church feel those cravings, but mostly, they get busy.  And their lives become rich and full with other things.”

This post today is (so far) very different than the one I originally planned.  I spent the weekend thinking about Friday’s post and the responses to it, praying that I would know how to communicate to you all how seriously I take the responsibility to treat my body healthfully and how grateful I am for the promises about abundance and richness and feeling full that fill the scriptures.  How I feel about Jesus Christ and His many promises to us that, though He gives peace in His own way, He does give it.  And we shall be filled—even if, as the prophets of old, we simultaneously feel a little bit of hunger, being as we are strangers in a strange land, who know the promises but see them afar off.

Which is all to say, Christ can fill us.  Better than we ourselves can.  Though—and I believe this too—we can work pretty actively to find the good things in life and eat and enjoy.

To that end, I wanted to say two things, which I hope you’ll celebrate with me,* if you can.

1. Two weeks ago, I hit my weight loss goal.  Specifically, I hit a weight loss goal I’ve had for twelve years.  And now, at the age of 28, I’m only five pounds away from what my doctor told me was my ideal weight when I was 16.  IDEAL.


And can I say that, though I lost the weight pretty gradually (25+ pounds over six months) and even though I can’t always tell when I look in the mirror or see pictures of myself, there’s something pretty satisfying about wearing my own tried and trues and having them swamp me.  (Here’s to my shopping fast ending in December so I can feel/look right-sized in clothes again.)

So there’s that.  But also there’s this:

2.  I am dating a boy.**

A man, more specifically.  He is lovely to me all of the time.  He opens my doors though I do not ask or expect him to.  He buys my groceries, unless I can successfully push him away from the credit card machine long enough to give the checker a chance to swipe the plastic I’ve desperately thrown at her.  “Swipe it!” I say, trying to cover the keypad and push Manfriend away simultaneously.  “Do it for women everywhere!”  He is a JD.  He loves Brian Regan.  He sings and whistles.  And he makes the jokes I’m going to make before I make them.  Which is both charming and, you know, deflating.

I do not know what will happen with us.  (Mr. Man, when you read this, do not be disconcerted.  I do not know what will happen with us.)  But I do know that I am very happy.  And my life is so fun.  And I feel blessed every day to have a teammate so willing to, you know, be present.  And kind.***

That is my story.  I’m losing weight, I’m looking awesome, I’m having fun, I’m trying to be a good girlfriend (dating does not always come naturally, turns out, turns out; I had forgotten).  And I’m trying to worry less about satisfying my cravings and more about filling myself with things that matter—including the proper number of calories per day (of course!), the satisfaction of doing hard things, the love of God and of all men, and delight in and appreciation for all of the blessings God has given/is giving me.  Including, at the moment, a chance to love Manfriend.

So I continue my efforts to wrangle my (unjustified) feelings of hunger, and I feel rich and full.

Hungry and full.

I wouldn’t expect less from this life.


* Please don’t, as my co-worker worried when I told her about my plans for today’s post, draw the wrong lesson.  Whatever that is for you.  I am just laying out the facts, and they are pretty delightful ones.  I think.

** See pictures above and below.  Note: Both were taken in October 2009.

*** Can we consider what it must be like to start dating a girl who, weekly, reports publicly to thousands of her favorite friends?  Yeah.  Manfriend assented generously to me taking us public.  Generously.

Freddy, Elizabeth, Sarah, and Jed October 2009