This Awful Ache

It is beautiful how God has done everything at the right time. He has put a sense of eternity in people’s minds. Yet, mortals still can’t grasp what God is doing from the beginning to the end of time. (Ecclesiastes 3:11 GW)

I’ll be the first to confess it. I am not happy. I am not content. I want more–I am starving for love, yearning for perfection, and seeking a purpose with great desperation. Sometimes, I am so melancholic (or nostalgic?) for…somewhere or someone I don’t even know. So much so that I feel like I want to die.

Obviously I am not always like that, so please don’t try to put me on medication. Let me explain. It happens when I am very quiet and am on my own talking to Jesus. I will “hear” an unearthly note that somehow resonates inside me and sets my heart on fire. It’s this awful ache, that makes me restless when I should be feeling complacent and happy and fulfilled.

I used to think it was just some abonormal yearning for love–that I was love-starved. But even when I was with the one I loved that ache did not go away.

I used to think that it was something to do with the artist in me who yearning for ultimate perfection–a vision, an inspiration needed for my life’s great work. But no. This awful ache may increase the creative output, but it is not the cause.

I used to think that it was a kind of desperate need for fulfillment. But no amount of awards and success can make it go away.

And then it came to me.

It is eternity. It is God himself calling to me. Reminding me that there is something more. Some great mystery. Something higher, better, more perfect, pure, and meant just for me. Something that the spiritual in me recognizes–vaguely–but can’t yet define.

It sounds lovely, but there is a downside to it: while I am on earth, I can never hope to be free of it. I will yearn for my true home. I will always be a foreigner while I am here. I will never feel fulfilled, always feel like I never quite fit in, because for the whole of my life I will be under the spell of …. this unknown. And so, this downside turns into an upside. Because it is my insurance against loving the world.

And so between spiritual numbness and this awful ache I’d take the latter any time.

Wouldn’t you do the same?

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