They should not clench their fists, it's my longing that's drawing me near to them; they should not stand there full of rage, my longing is timidly drawing near to them; they should not be ready to pounce like vicious dogs, as if they wanted to tear my longing to shreds; they should not threaten with broad sleeves, that pains my longing. Why have they suddenly changed? As great and deep is my longing. No matter how difficult, no matter how menacing: I must reach them and I'm already there.
The sweetest thing in all my life has been the longing "" to reach the Mountain, to find the place where all the beauty came from "" my country, the place where I ought to have been born. Do you think it all meant nothing, all the longing? The longing for home? For indeed it now feels not like going, but like going back.
C. S. Lewis
There is a German word, Sehnsucht, which has no English equivalent; it means 'the longing for something'. It has Romantic and mystical connotations; C.S. Lewis defined it as the 'inconsolable longing' in the human heart for 'we know not what'. It seems rather German to be able to specify the unspecifiable. The longing for something - or, in our case, for someone.
Longing was a feeling that was hard to live with. It didn't ask permission. It didn't pay attention to time or place. It was overwhelming and demanding, grasping and selfish. It clouded thoughts or made them too bright, too sharp. Longing demanded unconditional surrender. Lumikki tried to fight it and failed. She didn't want to long and yet she longed. She didn't want to remember, and yet her dreams and her body remembered, reminding her constantly. The longing was physical. It was dizziness. It was a seizing in her belly. It was the need to wrap her arms around herself alone in bed when there was no one else to do it for her. She felt the longing in her fingertips that yearned to stroke, to touch, to caress. The longing made her fingers restless, fiddling with the zipper of her jacket, the strings in her hoodie, fidgeting with whatever little thing happened to her hand. The longing made her teeth bite into her lower lip, leaving it chipped and almost bleeding. She knew she was being stupid. She knew her longing was pointless.
A longing to wander tears my heart when I hear trees rustling in the wind at evening. If one listens to them silently for a long time, the longing reveals its kernel, its meaning. It is not so much a matter of escaping from one's suffering, though it may seem to be so. It is a longing for home, for a memory of the mother, for new metaphors for life. It leads home.
Perhaps your hunger to belong is always active and intense because you belonged so totally before you came here. This hunger to belong is the echo and reverberation of your invisible heritage. You are from somewhere else, where you were known, embraced and sheltered. This is also the secret root from which all longing grows. Something in you knows, perhaps remembers, that eternal belonging liberates longing into its surest and most potent creativity. This is why your longing is often wiser than your conventional sense of appropriateness, safety and truth... Your longing desires to take you towards the absolute realization of all the possibilities that sleep in the clay of your heart; it knows your eternal potential, and it will not rest until it is awakened.
Do you think it all meant nothing, all the longing? The longing for home? For indeed it now feels not like going, but like going back. All my life the godof the Mountain has been wooing me. Oh, look up once at least before the endand wish me joy. I am going to my lover. Do you not see now?
For paradise we long. For perfection we were made...This longing is the source of the hunger and dissatisfaction that mark our lives...This longing makes our loves and friendships possible, and so very unsatisfactory. The hunger is for...nothing less than perfect communion with the...one in whom all the fragments of our scattered existence come together...we must not stifle this longing. It is a holy dissatisfaction. Such dissatisfaction is not a sickness to be healed, but the seed of a promise to be fulfilled...The only death to fear is the death of settling for something less.
Richard John Neuhaus
Our destiny is aligned with our heart's innermost longing, a longing embedded within our soul before birth. This longing is a unique pattern or configuration reminiscent of the constellations in the night sky. When we express (press out) our unique configuration, it shines through us with an otherworldly luminosity, manifesting abundance in our lives and the lives of others. Our sole task is to yoke our inner destiny, thread it through our lives and weave it into the world. All else is just shadows and dust.
I want to cultivate a deep sense of gratitude, of groundedness, of enough, even while I'm longing for something more. The longing and the gratitude, both. I'm practicing believing that God knows more than I know, that he sees what I can't, that he's weaving a future I can't even imagine from where I sit this morning.
An outsider longing to be on the inside is the same as the soloist longing to work in an ensemble. I get great satisfaction in being a part of the proper - for me - community. I'm uncomfortable with various social groupings and clusterings. But when I'm in the right group, doing the right thing, I get as much satisfaction out of that as anyone who does it all the time.
As I got older, I discovered that nothing within me cried out for a baby. My womb did not seem to have come equipped with that famously ticking clock. Unlike so many of my friends, I did not ache with longing whenever I saw an infant. (Though I did ache with longing, it is true, whenever I saw a good used-book shop)
I love the evening star. Does that sound foolish? I used to go into the backyard, after sunset, and wait for it until it shone above the dark gum tree. I used to whisper 'There you are, my darling.' And just in that first moment it seemed to be shining for me alone. It seemed to understand this ... something which is like longing, and yet it is not longing. Or regret - it is more like regret.
It is good for God's people to be put in a place of longing so they feel a slight desperation. Only then can we be empty enough and open enough to discover the holiness we were made for. When we are stuffed full of other things and never allow ourselves to be in a place of longing, we don't recognize the deeper spiritual battle going on.
The human longings that are deep inside of us never go away. They exist across cultures; they exist throughout life. When people were first made, our deepest longing was to know and be known. And after the Fall, when we all got weird, it's still our deepest longing - but it's now also our deepest fear.