There’s a sense of longing in all of us, isn’t there? This undeniable yearning for something to be completed, something to be brought to fruition. We want to see the incomplete brought to a right finish, we want to see the hole filled in, the tragedy redeemed.
We want the story to end well, not just happy-go-lucky, but well. We want Julian of Norwich’s saying to become a reality in our lives:
“All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well.”
But things happen in life. Small things that chip away at our foundation. Huge things that leave all of our structures flattened.
What do we do then, when the completion that we long for seems further away than ever? What do we do when hope feels like a tiny keepsake lost in the ruined expanse of a tornado-wrecked town?
Where do we begin searching among so much rubble? How can this thing called hope ever be found?
I’ve learned things throughout the years, after businesses that left me feeling like a failure, after miscarriages that spilled the life out of Maile and I. After hurts and betrayals and disappointments that still evade words.
One of the things I learned was that I have this instinct, when these painful things happen, to curl up inside of myself. And this is good, for a time. This is safe and quiet and healing. But there is also a time to let people back in. This weekend, at church, after everything that had happened, I was reminded how helpful it is to cry together, or to hug someone and let them cry on your shoulder. How healing it can be to listen and to simply say, “I’m so sorry.”
The other thing I’ve learned about this quest for hope is that we can rejoice in the waiting and the searching. Yes, we want to see the completion of all things, we want to see the resurrection and the redemption, and we will (please, God, we will), but there is space for joy in the in-between.
Advent teaches us this, that there is a kind of waiting that will bring fulfillment.
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This is what I love about U2’s song, “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For.” The lyrics speak of a longing, a pursuing, but there is also a sense of rejoicing in that not-yet.
Peace. Healing. Joy. Love. Forgiveness. We have yet to attain these things in perfection, but I hope that during this Advent season, we can all somehow rejoice in the things yet to be found.