Longing is found in arms outstretched, reaching for the unreachable. In diagonal lines stretched out across small white squares with numbers in the corner, topped with a picture of a place where I learned how to look forward to life. In a chin propped up on an elbow, eyes wandering out the window. In a head laid upon a pillow, liking unconscious sleep better than waking life.
Longing is found in an April ground half covered in snow, switching back and forth from damp to frozen. In a steer searching the bare ground for a bit of grass and sometimes straying beyond the fence. In a robin hopping alongside the snow pile, wondering if, perhaps, he did come back a little too early. In a bit of sunshine struggling to peer out from behind a mass of fast-moving gray cloud.
It has been a year of longing. Longing is a very proper word for the feeling…because everything seems to drag out so much longer when you’re waiting for it. I long for many things…some will come with time…some may never come…and I need to accept that.
I find comfort in the words of Thomas Merton. Words slid into a mailbox by a woman with a kind heart and wisdom that comes with the years that I have yet to see. Words taken and taped to a wall in a temporary home, then taken down again and taped to the wall in the only permanent home that I’ve ever known. Words that hang above my light switch, waiting to be illuminated so that they can whisper their wisdom to me once again.
I walk to the corner pasture, avoiding the snow patches. I spread my coat across the ground, pulling my hat to the top of my head above my overheating ears, and sit. Sit and gaze at a hay field pulling its snow hat above its ears; a line of tall naked trees, waving hello to the sun, who recently returned from a trip. I pull off my gloves and lay my palm across the brown, matted ground…a groggy ground in need of a mug of warm sunshine.
And then I find them – there – green curls of life, slowly, but surely, emerging from the chilled soil.
My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think that I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so. But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you. And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing. I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire. And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road though I may know nothing about it. Therefore I will trust you always though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death. I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.
― Thomas Merton, Thoughts in Solitude