"There is within us a fundamental dis-ease, an unquenchable fire that renders us incapable, in this life, of ever coming to full peace. This desire lies at the center of our lives, in the marrow of our bones, and in the deep recesses of the soul. At the heart of all great literature, poetry, art, philosophy, psychology, and religion lies the naming and analyzing of this desire. Spirituality is, ultimately, about what we do with that desire. What we do with our longings, both in terms of handling the pain and the hope they bring us, that is our spirituality . . . Augustine says: ‘You have made us for yourself, Lord, and our hearts are restless until they rest in you.’ Spirituality is about what we do with our unrest." -Ronald Rolheiser, The Holy Longing
The lonely girl sits in the bay window with her books. New to the neighborhood, she wonders if she will ever fit in and find real friends instead of those in her imagination. Looking out the window to the park across the street she notices two girls riding bikes and laughing together. The sight makes her feel even more lonely.
The young adult sits quietly while the group she is with engages in lively talk at the restaurant. Normally quite talkative, something about this particular group or occasion leaves her in silence, feeling like she doesn't quite fit in.
The married woman with the large family enjoys a peaceful Sunday afternoon, with everyone in the family engaged in some type of activity nearby. It should be a moment of peaceful joy, but instead, an uneasy ache fills her soul, something that feels a bit like the loneliness that has followed her all of her life.
These three different scenarios are all about the same person...me. God has blessed me with a wonderful life, yet there is always an emptiness that haunts me, a longing for something that can never be fulfilled. What causes this heavy longing? And am I the only person who has ever felt this way, or is it a natural consequence of being human?
If Rolheiser is right, then what I am longing for is God and the much quoted words of St. Augustine tells me that my restless heart will never be satisfied until it rests in God. So I pursue Him with all my might, and I know that as much as I am following Him, He is pursuing me even more. God longs for me and wants to be near me. So, why is it that I can't feel Him longing for me? Or do I feel it, but I just don't recognize it? And, what will it feel like if He ever catches me? If spirituality is truly about what I do with my restlessness, then what can I do to become more spiritual, more connected to God here and now? Is it possible to answer these questions on this side of heaven ?
Dear God, fill my soul with your love. Don't leave me in this emptiness of disquiet and unrest. Let's stop chasing each other and just settle peacefully into one another's arms. Amen.