Last Sunday I got up early (okay, it was early for me) and went to a local donut shop. I bought three donuts and a cup of coffee. In case you’re counting, that’s two donuts for breakfast and one donut for lunch.
I was eating healthy that day.
All three were cake donuts, cooked just perfectly. Crispy on the outside and light & fluffy on the inside. One was vanilla bean flavored, one was churro and the other coconut cream pie.
I was eating healthy that day.
As I sat in my car eating my breakfast, I pondered the meaning of life. More specifically, what makes a donut a donut. That is, what makes it different from a biscuit, a muffin or a cinnamon roll. I mean, those are all excellent breakfast options, but what is the distinguishing characteristic of a donut?
So I messaged some people and asked, “Quick, without thinking, describe a donut.” And I got answers like:
Sugary wheel of death
Round, with a hole in the middle
Most standard models of cosmology suggest that the mass and energy of the universe is made up of 27% dark matter. The name dark matter comes from the fact that it doesn’t emit or react to electromagnetic radiation. One type of electromagnetic radiation is light. If an object doesn’t emit or reflect light, then that object is invisible.
27% of the universe is completely invisible.
While dark matter cannot be directly observed, its existence is inferred from its gravitational effects on the visible matter around it.
In other words, while it can’t be seen, it has a profound effect on everything around it.
Have you ever been to a party where everyone is happy? Everyone is dressed in their best clothes, drinking wine and eating a great meal. Music, dancing and laughter fill the room. But you feel strangely alone, because the person that you love more than anything else isn’t there.
Sometimes, a person’s absence can be more present than the presence of everyone else in the room. Right?
Sometimes, we are defined by an absence or a lack. Or to put it another way:
Sometimes we are defined by a hole in the middle.
Sometimes there is a presence that is completely invisible that guides our actions. And there’s a word for that.
Sometimes love is that absence that is present. Sometimes love is that unseen thing that guides us. Sometimes love is the hole in the middle.
Most people are familiar with 1 Corinthians 13. It’s often referred to as the love chapter. It describes the attributes of love. Patience, kindness, humility, selflessness. The last few verses go like this:
Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
Last time we learned that you can be very much alive but not really living at all. Now we learn something just as counterintuitive, and just as revolutionary. What if our very brokenness is the thing make us complete? What if the hole isn’t a lack at all, but rather the very thing that gives us life?
You see, the thing that makes a donut a donut is the hole in the middle. (Do not get me started on jelly donuts. Just don’t.) Often the thing that defines us is that unseen hole in our middle. The thing we circle around caught up in its gravity.
Do you feel broken? Does it seem like there is a huge wound that will never heal? Have you suffered a loss? Has a relationship ended and you feel like things will never be right again? Do you feel broken?
You aren’t broken. You’re a donut.
And it’s the hole that makes you whole.
That, my friends, is what it means to be not only alive but living.