Monday, January 5, 2009

Joy in the Longing

“Joy in the Longing” is an expression of my spiritual journey. I believe every human being is born with a piece missing, and that if I am truly in touch with my thoughts and feelings, I am aware of that little hole in my self. The longing is a constant fact. It is at times almost imperceptible, while at others it is so acute that nothing else in the world seems to matter. But it doesn’t go away if I am honest with myself, it is an ostinato over which the rest of my life is sung.

It is not a longing on the human plane, as for a bigger house or a better life or a serious relationship (if you strip away any of those longings, you will find, underneath, still deeper longings for things less material.) It is a longing, I believe, for what I truly am, or perhaps more appropriately, for what I truly will be. The way God intended me to be and the way God sees me even now, though I am fully aware of my incompleteness.

Still, while I yearn for that sacred other-ness, that communion with something greater than myself, there are plenty of practical matters to which I ought to attend. I have a husband and children, friendships and family relationships, commitments to various communities in which I claim membership. I believe the ‘here and now’ is an essential part of my being and that in seeking connection with God, I must live ‘life on life’s terms’ rather than trying to alter the fabric of time and space to my own comfort.

It is in this living of life each and every day that joy is found. As a deeply imperfect person, I can get lost in the day-to-day, mired in frustration, bogged down by seemingly incessant difficulties. But when I work (and I do mean work!) to stay present in the moment, to act out of love and service to others, to center myself on doing the next right thing, there are sudden and often unexpected moments of joy. Not simply happiness or satisfaction or contentedness. Joy. Exuberant, transcendent joy.

In the book Surprised by Joy, C.S. Lewis writes:
“It had taken only a moment of time; and in a certain sense everything else that had ever happened to me was insignificant in comparison.... It was something quite different from ordinary life and even from ordinary pleasure; something, as they would now say, ‘in another dimension’ ... [it was] an unsatisfied desire which is itself more desirable than any other satisfaction. I call it Joy.... Anyone who has experienced it will want it again.”
This blog merely contains my musings on living life each day, always aware of that unsatisfied longing beneath, and always grateful for those moments when I can tap more deeply into the longing and experience joy.

1 comment:

  1. Beautiful. Thank you so much for sharing this on your blog (and for putting in the work that allows this into the world!). Blessings,