We were eating at Fuddruckers, a hamburger joint across the street from the Rome Braves stadium—we meaning Sheri, me, our then 10-year-old Natalie, and her friend Kaylin. Upon finishing our fat-laced, calorie-filled supper, we would head to the game.
The girls had plates full of chicken fingers, chicken sandwich, and fries. They started angling the conversation towards something sweet to eat, when I told them to finish what was on their plates. “Aren’t you full?” I asked. Natalie’s response, “My food bucket is full, but my dessert bucket is empty.” I laughed and gave her credit for a great answer, saying we might get something at the game for her dessert bucket.
Kaylin then chimed in that she has three buckets—food, dessert, and drink—and that only her food bucket was full. So, yes at the baseball game the two girls got their dessert buckets filled with Dippin’ Dots ice cream. My dessert bucket was also empty, by the way, and a Chick-fil-A milkshake took care of that.
I don’t know much about cows, but something stuck in my head as the girls talked about their two or three buckets. Don’t cows have several stomachs? I had forgotten how many until I got home and looked it up. According to my exhaustive internet research (if it is on the internet it must be true), cows only have one stomach but four chambers. I’m thinking the girls have some bovine in them with one stomach but several chambers.
What is true of a cow’s stomach is true of my heart…and yours. I have one heart but several chambers (literally and figuratively). In my one heart can reside the greatest Christ-like love at one moment and then hate and prejudice the next. In my heart you can find both humility and arrogance, strength and weakness, faith and doubt.
In art there is a phenomenon called pentimento. (It sounds like a sandwich.) I think it means that when an artist puts the base color on an easel, but then changes her mind and puts another color on, then the original color bleeds through. All of us have a faith that is pentimento. Stuff bleeds through.
The great Jewish theologian, Martin Buber, observed that our spiritual natures have two pockets (can you say chambers or buckets?). When we reach into one pocket we pull out smallness. As the writer of the 8th Psalm states, “Who is man that thou are mindful of him?” When we reach into the other pocket, we pull out greatness. As the writer of the 8thPsalm also declares, “Thou hast made him a little lower than God.”
I’ve got two pockets, how about you? We are both saint and sinner.
Now pass the dessert.