“He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end.” -Ecclesiastes 3:11
For three nights, I’ve laid my head on my pillow consumed with a poignant longing, an unsatisfied twinge of nostalgia for memories I’ve never experienced, an unsettled desire which I’ve no idea how to fulfill.
It winds its way around my heart in those undisturbed post-11pm moments, when I’m alone — when I’ve finished the homework, the laundry, the workout, and the social networking for the day. I sit on the edge of my bed, and it washes over me, the desire I can feel in the back of my throat and in the tremble of my hands.
Sometimes I try to scoot it away by thinking. I’ll lie down and think about being pursued, about marriage and adoptions, globe-trotting ministries and running the Boston marathon… about writing screenplays and traveling for months. But my lavish fantasies are a teaspoon to the canyon of that longing.
It’s always bigger.
Bigger than my daily experiences
Bigger than my daydreams.
Bigger than my most magnificently soaring moments.
The desire is loud, storming into my thoughts and ruining my intent to focus on other things. Yet, it’s also maddeningly soft and still, like a great, gaping whisper.
My head touches the pillow and it grips me, quiet and loud and bigger than everything else — that raging desire, silently screaming that there is something greater, and I’ve blood and skin and bones so that I can be part of it.
Life for now, however, is trips to Target, errands at Chase Bank, runs around Capitol Lake, emails to friends, nannying on Tuesdays, and laundry upstairs. It’s Cliff bars in the morning and chicken and rice at night.
They’re only the cover of the book — these 24 years and however many I have left to my name. There will come a day, an hour, when the first page is turned and the story of stories begins — the real adventure. The curtain will fall on this grey reality and the sun will rise — warm and bright and soul-satisfying — over the landscape of eternity. Then I will taste the fullness of what is now only a drop, only a “fleeting glimpse of Joy; Joy beyond the walls of the world, poignant as grief.” (J.R.R. Tolkien).
That’s it. That’s the day for which I long. Nothing here is good enough, true enough, bold and glorious enough to fill that desire. All I have are shadows and sketches.
But, as Sam the faithful Hobbit spoke to Frodo during the darkest night of their wearisome journey, “Above all shadows rides the sun.”
Dawn is coming.
Something greater has yet to unfold.
“End? No, it doesn’t end here. Death is just another path, one which we must all take. The grey rain-curtain of this world rolls back, and all changes to silver glass… And then you see it… White shores, and beyond, a far green country, under a swift sunrise.” -Gandalf from “Lord of the Rings”