What do you long for?
The answer to this question seems much more complicated than it ever has before.
Some of my longings are consistent. I long for my relationships to be honest and full of love and respect. I long for my family to be safe, fulfilled, and loved. I long for my community to be equitable for all people in it.
Because of the world we are living in today, some of my longings are new or different. I long to meet with my church family again. I long to go on adventures with my family again. I long for a community that listens to the oppressed and wants justice and mercy above all else.
Most of the things that my heart longs for are things I must participate in some way. To have honest and loving relationships, I must be honest and loving to myself and others. For my community to be equitable for all people, I must be in my community, listening to those who live with unjust systems’ consequences and use my privilege and power to change those systems.
Some longings are out of my control, and some I will never taste. The world will never be the same. Even when I do adventure out of my house again, the world will be different. My memories of life before the pandemic and caste uprising even feel different now. Life has changed. I have changed.
Fernando Pessoa says it better than I can.
“The feelings that hurt most, the emotions that sting most, are those that are absurd – The longing for impossible things, precisely because they are impossible; nostalgia for what never was; the desire for what could have been; regret over not being someone else; dissatisfaction with the world’s existence. All these half-tones of the soul’s consciousness create in us a painful landscape, an eternal sunset of what we are.”
― Fernando Pessoa
“All these half-tones of the soul’s consciousness create in us a painful landscape, an eternal sunset of what we are.”
The sun has set on so much. What we once loved and how we once lived has come to an end just as our day comes to an end. However, just like the sun that sets each day, it also rises each day. Each day we have a new chance to long for the deep aching of our heart. Each day brings new hope, new dreams, and new desires. It is brave to listen to our longings, especially when they seem impossible and out of reach. I will not stop listening to my longings. Out of these aches, we find our true selves and what we were made for. A poem I come back to again and again is John O’Donohue’s For Longing. I am leaving it for you today. May you listen to your longings. May you hope for a newness each morning. May you be brave enough to never settle because it is safe, but instead reach for all your hopes and dreams with courage.
Blessed be the longing that brought you here
And quickens your soul with wonder.
May you have the courage to listen to the voice of desire
That disturbs you when you have settled for something safe.
May you have the wisdom to enter generously into your own unease
To discover the new direction your longing wants you to take.
May the forms of your belonging – in love, creativity, and friendship –
Be equal to the grandeur and call of your soul.
May the one you long for long for you.
May your dreams gradually reveal the destination of your desire.
Maya secret providence guide your thought and nurture your feeling,
May your mind inhabit your life with which your body inhabits the world.
May your heart never be haunted by ghost structures of old damage.
May you come to accept your longing as divine urgency.
May you know the urgency with which God longs for you.
All photos in this post are from my husband Andy Kennelly. More of his work here.
My friend Melissa has some thoughts on longing on her beautiful blog. Follow this link to read more.