They call it the God-sized hole.
That ever-gnawing hunger inside
Always waiting to be fed
With meaning, purpose, assurance
I have heard many people talk about it.
I believe in this idea, because I can feel it
Deep in my gut.
I know about how big it is.
It’s the size of my record collection, all 400-plus albums.
Throw in my 300-plus CDs.
Make it bigger with my shelves and shelves of books
Thousands upon thousands of pages, ideas crammed front to back
Collecting dust on basement shelves
Or spilling over in neglected piles.
The hole would swallow all of them
And you wouldn’t even see them
At the bottom.
I could pour in all my old writings
Saved for some reason in boxes
All my yellowed thoughts: letters, college papers, newspaper clips
They would cascade down in a musty avalanche
And the hole would be far from filled.
I could flood them with drink:
Great growlers of beer
Bottles of splendid wine
Coffee by the gallon
And still not see the mushy pile
So far down the hole it was.
Down there with a thousand conversations
Beautiful evenings with friends
Wonderful captivating movies
Plays that drew my gasps and tears
Baseball games that made me shout with joy
Meals, such fabulous meals …
So many fine lovely things, but not nearly enough
To fill up the God-sized hole.
I always feel it down there, dark and full of echoes
Waiting for more
Waiting for meaning
Waiting for me
To finally submit, and admit
How badly I hunger
How much I want
To fill it with prayer
But I don’t, I won’t.
I’m afraid of what I’d find
Of what it would ask of me, or do to me
And what I would have to do
If I went down all the way.
I’d rather drop things in:
Little daily pleasures
And reassuring gestures
And fine thoughts
Putting in just enough
To keep from starving.