Otherwise referred to as Eat. Pray. Love.
Why are the foundational principles behind Elizabeth Gilbert's best-selling novel turned Julia Robert's film so successful? I haven't read the book or watched the film and do not intend to but from the book and movie reviews I've mentally collected, the plot appears to have hit that generally specific core of human emotion. I also find it intriguing that the three chosen title verbs powerfully affect the bedrock of what it means to be human both in its negative implications and positive far-reaching effects. Each qualification is in and of itself rather boring; eat being a biological function, pray a religious one and love? Well, love is something Walt Disney conjured up over pumpkin pie.
Apply it in life's context however, and we find that "eat" umbrellas the ugly pandemic of obesity and anorexia, "pray" is something even the non-religious take part in and "love?" Love is something Hollywood banks on to maintain its Beverly Hills lifestyle. Maybe that was stretching it a bit, what I meant was the promise of love for what better way to keep audiences addicted and floating back for more than to have them keep hoping?
The truth is, we all want to eat, pray and love. We just want to do it on our terms. I would love to be able to dig into a 500g, inch-think, medium-rare, lightly seasoned and sealed, Wagyu steak, served with textured mashed potato mixed with 4 cheeses, salad (hold the tomatoes) with garlic-herb croutons and a drizzle of EVOO as well as a side dish of juicy Portebello mushrooms with a nut, sage, lime and olive stuffing, without having to worry about the calories, cholesterol, cardiac arrest, expanding waistline, laps round the pool and daily crunches I will have to do to return to status quo. In reality, only the superhuman among us with that enviable and elusive high metabolic rate rest easy. The rest of normal humanity will be huffing on treadmills trying to fit into "the average" size 6 (size 4 in the U.S.). We are a world culture obsessed with eating, the effects of eating, how not to eat, how to eat well, how to eat right for your blood type, how to overcome wanting to eat, how to have my cake and eat it albeit slowly with a gastric bypass. We savour our food with a lust for more; the same lust that carves out greed and gluttony.We don't love our eat.
What about pray? Everyone prays. Even the Atheist prays. I'm sure there is an least one devout Atheist out there who shouts, "For God's sake!" at some point in the day. We pray we won't be late for that all important function. We pray there won't be a strike this year (keep praying). We pray that we will get that job, that car, that girl. We bring our little wishlists to Heaven's throne but don't acknowledge the Giver. We want to keep receiving the perks of living in God's created world (because then it'll be easy to blame someone when things go wrong) but refuse to follow the housekeeping rules. I wonder if God installed a 'default' prayer mode into our system to remind us that there is Someone out there beyond our minute world and its finite timeline. Everytime we pray, we can either choose to ignore that we have just referred to Someone outside ourselves (as most of us do) or we can pause and wonder why is it we do pray. Maybe you're a lunatic or you're trying to make yourself feel better by lying to yourself. Either that, or there is a possibility that beyond the world as you know it, there is a God that cannot but attract our prayers, whether we believe in Him or not. Do you love who you pray to?
Love is too complex to explain on a Wednesday afternoon.