I read these words and gasped, so palpable their recognition, their familiarity, their truth:
…longing as the presence of the divine…
Just the fragment of a sentence that offers me more solace and hope than nearly anything anyone could say, write, or offer. Here’s why:
- If longing is the presence of the divine then we are surrounded by, filled with, and encompassed by God – no matter how defined or experienced.
- If longing is the presence of the divine then our desires, our hungers, our passions, our needs, and even our wants are good and holy and worthy.
- If longing is the presence of the divine then we are never alone.
We’ve somehow learned and incorporated the opposite:
- Longing is the absence of the divine. Our blatant and stubborn refusal to be content with our life as it is is why we feel far from God.
- Longing is the absence of the divine. Our desire and hunger, our passions, needs and wants, are base and even sinful. No wonder we are far from God.
- Longing is the absence of the divine. We feel alone because our endless grasping for more drives everyone, including God, away.
…longing is the presence of the divine…
Take heart, dear ones.
The places in which you feel the biggest gaps, the deepest aches, the most profound hunger are the very places in which God abides. Your sense of discontent reminds you that you are created for and destined for more – abundance, life overflowing, goodness, grace, and love. Your desires are the very things that usher you right into the presence of holiness itself. And as such, you are not alone.
Acknowledge your longings. Name them. Pursue them. Fan their flame. Within them is where God dwells – not just spark, but seering, warming, uncontainable, unquenchable fire. Within you.
Blessed be the longing that brought you here and quickens your soul with wonder. May you have the wisdom to enter generously in to your own unease to discover the new direction your longing wants you to take. May you come to accept your longing as Divine urgency. May you know the urgency with which God longs for you. ~ John O’ Donohue