....we know that "we all possess knowledge." But knowledge puffs up while love builds up.
-1 Corinthians 8:1
Paul could not have known the way my abdomen would blow up like a Valentine’s Day blimp the night after I read his warning label on knowledge. Nor did I anticipate the way I would spend the most romantic night of the year pressing my innards and contemplating the mystery of my intestines. After four days of illness, the innocuous patterns on my parents’ couch began leering at me as I lay there moaning, finding more and more jeering faces as the days went by. That morning, as I festered on my mocking couch reading the Word of God, Paul reminded me of this deep theological truth: I am a puffy puffasaurus. After bearing for years this spiritual condition and later that night the physical, I can tell you from experience, it is not a pretty picture. And trust me, sight is not the sense that is most offended. The most delicate of my burps smelled like death’s twisted and rotting arm reaching out from my esophagus. Terrorist groups around the world would pay millions to bottle the bio-hazardous toxins I was releasing into the family room air. At this point, you may be throwing your hands in the air beseeching me to stop, the cry of “too much information” upon your tongue. And you would be right. I could not have made the point better myself. Too much information indeed! There is a gluttony of information in this culture and in my own life, some of which I’ve gotten tested for, patted on the back for, and yet not much of it causing me to live more deeply or love more fully.
I am educated beyond my love, far beyond my love. This verse was one star of a large constellation that I followed out of grad school last year. I wish I could say it led to somewhere nice, but there is nothing enjoyable about pressing on your intestines and de-puffing is an obscene and humiliating process. It’s been one year since the Valentine’s Day I spent laying on my couch wondering if I’d just made one of the biggest mistakes of my life by discontinuing my program. And the answer is that I still don’t know. I’ve been trying to build a life for myself this past year, but when you are building a house with love, it takes a long time to feel like you are getting very far or anywhere at all. So in the meantime, I keep pressing, both on my internal organs and into the future, seeking to be faithful one brick and one belch at a time.