they call it the God-sized hole

Stellar cradle of young stars, NASA image

They call it the God-sized hole.
That ever-gnawing hunger inside
Always waiting to be fed
With meaning, purpose, assurance
Faith
Soul food.
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
And devotion
And intention.
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.

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11 Responses to they call it the God-sized hole

  1. Rachel says:

    Beautifully written, and oh so true. You have no idea how much I relate to this, Charley!

  2. I appreciate your comment that the hole is at least as big as our CD collection, the movies we’ve seen, the books we’ve read, and so on. Even our most resolute attempts at filling that hole, even our attempts at spirituality, connect intimately with the mundane things we do every day. I like the fact that you didn’t make it an either-or proposition… either we try to fill it with mundane things or we reach out to God. I agree with you that we often are not sufficiently resolute in our attempts at filling the hole spiritually, but I like the nuanced way you approached the subject by saying it’s at least as big as these other more mundane parts of our everyday life.

    • soulmailing says:

      Thank you for your thoughtful comment, rjmythicadventures. I agree with you that it’s not either-or. Music, literature and even conversations with friends can be ways of trying to connect with God if that is a basic spiritual goal that one has. I’ve always felt the presence of God most strongly through music, whether it’s the Beatles or Bach. But I know that music is just one aspect of a divine reality much too mysterious for me to fully comprehend. And sometimes I realize just throwing more CDs in there can be a way of avoiding a fuller encounter with God. I have no idea whether these thoughts really make sense, so I appreciate your feedback!

  3. Content Rex says:

    Thanks so much for sharing this. It was like reading a biographical sketch of myself!
    -Adam

  4. Heidi says:

    Beautifully expressed. Sadly, even when we God comes in, we still try to add more things to make us “happy” – oblivious to the overflow…

  5. Heidi says:

    Beautifully expressed. Sadly, even when God comes in, we still try to add more things to make us “happy” – oblivious to the overflow…

  6. Heidi says:

    Ah, but the overflow is a result of God’s presence. So we needlessly try to add to what is already full.

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