inconsolable longing

Posted on February 14, 2010


“We are not human beings having a spiritual experience, we are spiritual beings having a human experience.” (Teilhard de Chardin)

If this earthly experience is what life is all about then

Why, in our quiet moments, are there these hunger pangs for more . . . ?

Why, in our happiest moments, is there always something missing . . . ?

Why do our silences scream to us for meaning . . . ?

Why is it that even the most idyllic romances have a growing emptiness . . . ?

Why is it that the end of our striving is dust in the wind
. . . a fist full of shifting, slippery sand . . . ?

Why do all of our tangible longings lead us to what does not console
. . . to what can never console . . . ?

Why do those that have risen to the “top” . . . the “heights” of this earthly existence with fame, riches, and stardom, once they have seen the earthly mountaintop, so often end in ruin, overdose, and suicide . . . ?

Why is it that the more we
open our eyes to see
open our minds to learn
open our hearts to love

Why is it we also awaken to
our own nothingness
our own emptiness
our own weariness
our own inadequacies

. . . in the face of life’s vastness, complexity, and mystery???

Who are we . . . really?

More . . . more . . . there must be more . . .

“If I find in my self a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the more probable explanation is that I was made for another world.” (C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity, ch 10)

“How could an idiotic universe have produced creatures whose mere dreams are so much stronger, better, subtler than itself? . . . Do fish complain of the sea for being wet? Or if they did, would that fact itself not strongly suggest that they had not always been, or would not always be, purely aquatic creatures? If you are really a product of a materialistic universe, how is it that you don’t feel at home there?” (C.S. Lewis, Encounter with Light)

“It now seemed that . . . the deepest thirst within him was not adapted to the deepest nature of the world.” (C.S. Lewis, The Pilgrim’s Regress, bk 8, ch 6)

“The books or the music in which we thought the beauty was located will betray us if we trust to them; it was not IN them, but only came THROUGH them, and what came THROUGH them was longing. These things — the beauty, the memory of our own past — are good images of what we really desire; but if they are mistaken for the thing itself they turn into dumb idols, breaking the hearts of their worshippers. For they are not the thing itself; they are only the scent of the flower we have not found, the echo of a tune we have not heard, news from a country we have never yet visited . . . . The sense that in this universe we are treated as strangers, the longing to be acknowledged, to meet with some response, to bridge some chasm that yawns between us and reality, is part of our inconsolable secret. . . .

“Our lifelong nostalgia, our longing to be reunited with something in the universe from which we now feel cut off, to be on the inside of some door which we have always seen from the outside, is no mere neurotic fancy, but the truest index of our real situation.” (C.S. Lewis, Transposition and Other Addresses, ch 2)