Today was one of those days. You know, the kind when all you can say is, “Today was one of those days.” The day when you feel overwhelmed. Or the day you wish you had stayed in bed. Or the day you were searching for something, or perhaps lots of somethings, that you could not find. The missing sock. The math homework you signed and put on the counter. The dog’s leash. The keys. Oh, the keys. Don’t even get me started on losing the keys. Thankfully, I had no problem finding my keys today, but I was looking for something. Something I hadn’t necessarily lost. Rather I was searching for something that would console my troubled spirit. Bon bons.
I wanted bon bons because it had been a tough day. Strike that. It’s been a tough week. Scratch that. It’s been a tough few months, and I’m weary. I’ve been putting on the happy face and looking for the silver lining. But my heart aches and I’m tired of the aching. I want it to stop. I want life to be easy. I’m even willing to settle for not-so-hard. But the reality of my life at this moment, in this day, is that it is hard. So naturally, I want to run from the discomfort. I want to soothe the pain. I want bon bons.
I usually don’t use food as a comforter, but today I had to have them. So I drove to one store and after scanning every frozen treat known to man, I could not find bon bons. Other ice cream novelties would not do. I HAD to have bon bons. I drove to the next store. Hoping to find my solace in the rich chocolate shell and creamy ice cream center, I inspected every shelf in the ice cream section. No solace found. By now, I had worked myself into such an obsession that I would not rest until I found my beloved bon bons. My precious, little soothers of pain.
I drove to a third store. Bingo. When I walked to the frozen food section, it was as if a spotlight fixed itself on the bon bon shelf so I couldn’t possibly miss them. I paid for my darling ice cream indulgence drove to a local park, where I sat under a walnut tree popping the sweet treats into my mouth one by one. It was perfect, me with my enchanting bon bons under the shade of a tree on a beautiful, sunny day. Perfect, that is, until my grown-up voice showed up.
“Do you really think these bon bons are the answer to your problems?” It said to me, rather accusingly I might add.
I tried to ignore the voice.
“Feels good now, doesn’t it?” Big grown-up voice asked.
I tried to shut it up, but sometimes that grown-up voice can be so strong-willed. “You can ignore your pain as long as you want, but until you face it, nothing is going to soothe you for long.” I almost choked with laughter at that one.
“Oh yeah?” I said, “Then why do these bon bons taste so good? Why do they make me feel good in the depths of my being?” I tried to argue that I was certain bon bons held some magical power to ease the burdens of life. Grown-up voice stayed silent for a while as I enjoyed the rest of my frozen goodness.
When I had finished the entire package, I felt full and satisfied. Take that, stupid grown-up, know-it-all voice. Bon bons really do make me feel good, I thought. Not once did I think about my sadness as I was consuming my treats.
I got back into my car and started to drive to an appointment. Little by little, I could feel my spirit deflating. I had spent so much of the day searching for something that I had to have and when I got it, I consumed it so quickly that I forgot to savor it. I started to feel empty, and sad that I had used the bon bons as if they could perform some miracle in my life. It sounds extreme for a little ice cream ball, I know, but what I realized is that I wanted the bon bons to make life more bearable.
And for a while they did. What’s so wrong with that? After all, it’s not as if I hurt anyone by inhaling the bon bons, had I? No, but I had certainly expended a lot of energy searching for them when I set my mind on them. When I had to have them. Would not let go of them. Fixated on them. How much of that time could I have spent journaling about my real feelings and asking God to come into the wounded, hurt places instead.
The bon bons will never solve my problems like I want them to. Neither will any of the other things I search for and try to stick in the place that only God can heal. But bon bons can be delightful and refreshing and appropriate at the right moments. So, no offense, my sweet little bon bons, for I will always love you for who you are. But from now on, I must stop running to you in a frenzy, because I know that if I really want to feel whole, I must stop and face the pain. The grief over life’s circumstances will come like waves and they will wash over me. But when the waves start to calm and I have gone from rough to smooth, then perhaps I will find you again and we will celebrate the healing together. I look forward to that day.