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POEM: There’s no such thing as a free lunch


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By Christi Ortiz

Contemporary wisdom teaches us we all must work for what we eat.
This is true of spiritual food as much as physical food.

At first glance the spiritual banquet appears free
With the waving of the entrance fee

No requirements listed
saint and sinner alike stream in without examination

All our welcome here.
Prince and beggar, blind and lame, dumb and mute

blind and proud, greedy and loud
lost and found…

The least qualified seem to hear the call even more
their hunger greater than all the rest

But deep inside we find the cost
of eating this heavenly food

Nothing is asked for receiving the gift
But once received the receiver cannot help but abandon all to the Giver

And we cannot eat of this rich and costly food
without Gratitude

The gratitude we give is savoring the food offered freely for our enjoyment
How ungrateful a guest that comes in hurriedly, eats in a rush, and leaves

The guest that honors the gift of the Host
Chews slowly, savoring every flavor and smell

The guest that leisurely drinks in the delight of the meal provided
Honors the One who has Prepared with Love the Banquet to be Shared

The deliciousness of this consciousness and this savory wisdom
Must be digested with care.

Great nutrition cannot be wasted
Eaten in a hurry and expelled without absorbing any of the Essential

So too our prayer and worship and communion
Cannot be taken with hasty disregard

It is a treasure to be treasured
A feast to be relished

You know a great meal is being enjoyed by hungry souls
When the table is silent

Enjoying the delight and gift of the meal too much
to interrupt it with chatter

This must be eaten slowly,silently
Not to waste a single crumb

The gift requires respect and appreciation
To be relished and gain the nourishing fruits

Digestion always happens in darkness
In the secret cavern of the soul

Anyone caught in the stupor of food coma
After enjoying a heavy meal

Knows that digestion requires time and energy
Other faculties are suspended

While this holy digestion does it’s work
Squeezing every nutrient from every word

The prayer lingers on every holy word
Like the sweetness of honey lingers on the tongue

Too enraptured to speak
The tongue could not profane this Silence

anymore than the mind can grasp the greatness of this gift.
Yes, Silence is the guest’s greatest gift

to the Giver,
the preparer of the Feast.


Christi Ortiz
Christi Ortiz
Christi Ortiz is a licensed marriage and family therapist by profession and a poet by passion.  She enjoys trying to put to words to that which is wordless and give voice to the dynamic and wild spiritual journey called life. She lives in Spokane with her husband and two children, Emmanuel and Grace. She loves the outdoors and meditating in the early mornings which gives rise to her poetry.

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