“Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst afterI have felt bot h the emptiness of addiction, shame, and guilt, as well as the hunger associated with humility, faith, and a desire to do good.
righteousness: for they shall be filled” (Matthew 5:6).
“And my soul hungered; and I kneeled down before
my Maker, and I cried unto him in mighty prayer and
supplication for mine own soul; and all the day long
did I cry unto him; yea, and when the night came I did
still raise my voice high that it reached the heavens”
There is something about the relationship between emptiness and hunger. They are NOT the same thing. Emptiness is a state of dejection, almost an inverse of constipation wherein my soul is blocked off and empty, nothing gets in and nothing gets out. With emptiness there is no hope, only shame, regret and a sense of compulsive inevitability. I am feeling it right now. I haven't done anything terrible, haven't jumped off the wagon at all, but maybe left me feet dangle of the back, my heels dig into the dirt as we go. The spirit flees and I am empty. That is perhaps what it means at the heart of it ...to be void of the Spirit, the place in our body and soul that wants to be occupied by the Holy Ghost is not occupied and I feel empty, alone, not abandoned, but the opposite of abandonment--self-inflicted exile. I have exiled myself from the kingdom of God.
But Hunger, what is hunger? To hunger and thirst after righteousness. This is, I imagine, a spiritual version of the hunger an athlete feels after a workout. The more one works out, the more one needs to eat, the more satisfying a meal is, the better a person feels, and the cycle continues.
The emptiness of addiction is the emptiness of someone who eats poorly and doesn't exercise. They are always full, but never satisfied, they are always consuming and never getting what they need--their diet leaves them empty because what they are consuming contains no nutrition.
The whole point of this first section is to help me be more honest with myself and with others...so how can hungering and thirsting after righteousness help me be more honest? Well, I think that has to do with an acknowledgement of what my spiritual diet and exercise regimen does for me--I need to be honest with the Lord about how I am feeling and how my behavior makes me feel and stop listening to the lies that encourage me to continue destructive, compulsive behavior.
Thank you, Heavenly Father, for my weaknesses that help me to be humble. Thank you for the challenges and opportunities to serve others. Thank you for your son, Jesus Christ, for his atonement, and for the blessings of mortality, of the opportunity to choose between that which will fill me and cause me to grow, and that which will leave me empty and spiritually stunted.
My I choose righteousness every time.