The significance of the fourth bun comes from a story about a fool, who upon discovering it takes four buns to satisfy hunger, thinks that she can skip the first three and just eat the fourth with the same result.
I have been that fool.
* * * * *
“Why are you here?”
We are an eclectic group of first year psychology students: ten of us that have been appointed to this group facilitator. Meeting twice a week and doing “group therapy” is a requirement of the course.
“Because we have to be?” one student jests. Nervous giggles all around.
“No, really. Think about it? Are you here to fulfill your destiny, or are you here because that is what expected of you? Are you pleasing your parents?”
I knew I wasn’t pleasing my parents, well, at least not my mother. She didn’t see the point in women having an education. I was interested in psychology, but not yet sure that was the path I wanted to follow. Why was I here?
The question haunted me. What was I looking for? What did I hope to achieve?
The answers had nothing to do with education. On my own since seventeen, I had an intangible hunger that I sought to satisfy. I felt as if I was swimming in murky waters, unaware of the dangers beneath the surface, and just treading water on top. Trying to achieve my education, while having to work full-time to support myself was not easy. At some level, I knew that education held promise for the future, but the immediacy of my hunger overshadowed any rationality.
I wanted security: the kind of security offered by a stable home. I wanted to feel loved and supported, and not like I was clawing my way through life in order to survive. I wanted to not always have to be so strong and independent, and I wanted an end to this feeling of being so alone.
The first bun would have been to finish my education; two, to find a career; three would have given me time to establish my independence; and four to marry and create a family. Young and impulsive, I skipped to four.
Now I understand why I never found the satisfaction I was looking for. It took a long time for the hunger to subside.