Do you ever wake up on a Tuesday morning with an undefinable longing? It palpitates near the heart, perhaps, beating its insistence with a red drumbeat whispering, “Please, please, please.”
Of course a mere human can’t figure out what longing wants, can she? We can only feel the red threads of fire, the way they rise and fall like matches sparking logs into conflagrations of rising flame.
Longing–and her twin, restlessness–have been my companions these many years. Do they visit you in your little house in the woods or city or suburb or small town? Do they come in unexpectedly and wipe all your pretty organized well-behaved china teacups from your cupboard? Do they smash into your perhaps contented moment and demand attention like a petulant two year old?
In my early years, oh those twenties especially before babies arrived all sweet-cheeked and squalling, I used to run to the car and drive townward to find relief in creamy coffee and homemade toast in the Nite Owl restaurant. One needed a scribbling paper on which to pen poetry, metaphysical pondering and anguished metaphors of blue-bolt thundering gods throwing sparks of longing especially toward this red quivering and longing heart. Coffee especially spurred on the metaphors as adrenaline pumped.
This lone restaurant escape soothed the longing for maybe two hours, but created other problems because the residents of this small town eyed a single dining scribbling woman with curiosity and maybe labeled her eccentric or peculiar or just darn weird.
And at that age all I wanted to do was fit in.
The babies arrived all sweet-cheeked and squalling and didn’t cooperate at the Nite Owl with a scribbling mama so other contingencies developed. As they grew spindly and sturdy legs–and the longing pierced its red arrow into my red heart and the blood of wanting and desiring and aching arose–we would walk up or down the road to Joe and June’s house, or Opal and Roz’s house, and sip creamy coffee and munch Oreos or Windmill Cookies or homemade treats and the longing abated beneath the breastplate to wait for its next blitz.
A lucky privileged woods-dweller with such a rich life shouldn’t long so desperately for something inexpressible, should she? We should be satisfied with our gardens, our husband, our children, our full plates, our healthy legs, our part-time jobs. This restless longing has no place in the life of a human being–has it?
One sure thing that burned away longing was words. If you sat still and allowed words to flame forth into consciousness by marrying concepts–a heart can swell in love and tears pinprick forth. I loved to watch words knit together the opposites. To say the unimaginable. To bring together sweet-cheeked and squalling separated only by an “and”. Wow! Thrill! Take that, you longing! How can you survive in the face of THAT?
Spirituality did the same thing. It sparked into that heart, that essence, and took a broken plate and glued it together. It took a fractured world and whispered, “this too, this too, this too” until magic arose and you could almost see the interwoven allowing of death and birth, sadness and happiness, sickness and health, anger and acceptance, poverty and wealth, this and that.
Sometimes, when the sun illuminates your world just so, when the moon reaches its fingers through dark clouds of despair, longing makes perfect sense. You can truly see it as a gift. Perhaps of creativity. Perhaps of pushing you forward out of your stuckness. Perhaps as an fiery red angel-demon who parachutes you, terrified, out of an airplane into the blue sky of infinite possibility, into the lake of your own immense essence.
Perhaps we can finally make friends with our longing singing “this too, this too, this too” when she arises once again to shake us out of complacency or boredom or checking Facebook one too many times.
Does anyone else intimately know this longing? How do you appease her, feed her, fight her, sing to her on a Tuesday morning in October when she rises like orange flame?