Saturday, August 28, 2010

The Longing's an interesting word, isn't it?  It simply means: a strong persistent yearning or desire, especially one that cannot be fulfilled. To yearn for something, to desire it, to long for it like nothing else in the world.  But when you get beneath the definition of the word, it raises within a person all kinds of things...memories, unfulfilled yearnings, instant gratification, pleasure, joy, envy, guilt, shame and even anger.  That word alone, longing, can take you on a journey deep into yourself through your past, present, and even into the future.

I used to feel this pang of longing echoing through me...of loneliness...for freedom...for love....for understanding.  I longed for a place to rest my weary head after a long and painful journey.  I longed for a sanctuary to call  my own....a light in the darkness.

That longing was enough to halt me in my tracks.  It could leave me frozen as the world passed me by.  And as it passed, the longing would grow because I would watch people walk in and out of my life, moving forward with theirs while mine seemed to stagnant in the same place...rooted and never budging.

Sometimes I still feel those pangs of longing, though they are now very few and far between.  And it's like a moment of pure anxiety clawing at your stomach when it overtakes you. It brings you to your knees as though the harshness of reality is telling you that you have no place in it.

I believed in fairy tales, at that time, where the prince or knight saves the helpless damsel who is in distress and they live happily ever after.  But it wasn't just limited to romance.  I imagined there was someone...anyone really... out there who would be a savior for me..a guardian angel in the flesh if you will.  Friend, family, lover, it didn't matter who or what relation they were to me.

And because I clung to that blissful fantasy, of a soul mate in whatever form they took, I started down a road I didn't even realize I was treading upon.  I slowly began relinquishing control of my own life to other people.  And the people I chose seemed to be perfection.  But they weren't.

They were strong men and women, to be sure, but that perfection was nothing more than the sun shining brilliantly upon a pool of toxic waste.  When the sun shines on it just so, it is as beautiful as any pool of water.  But if you get to close you can see that the water is tainted. You can see the damage it causes to an ecosystem: dead fish, dead plants, mutated animals, unhealthy drinking water.

What do I mean?  Once you step into a relationship like that, born out of  the deep seeded need to escape because reality shines how much value you place upon yourself like a mirror and a dream that allows you to stay blind to that reality, you willingly hand control over your life to someone else.  And you essentially tell them it doesn't matter what they do with that control as long as that dream can stay intact within you.  Because in that dream there is hope...hope that he will change and  hope that things will get better if you are just simply patient enough. Hope that he really is the savior the you long for.

That longing can take us down many roads we can not fathom as we stand here...right in this moment.  It can drive us into behaviors we wouldn't dream of when we are not bound in a flood of emotions.

For me, what that meant is that I did things I never would have done before that longing: drugs, alcohol, sexual promiscuity, and more.  And it was all in the attempt to fill that void inside me which cried out in longing, all in the attempt to escape my inevitable fate of meeting myself in all of my shame, in all of my guilt, in all of my self loathing.  All of this was because I did not want to see myself as I am and because I wanted to stay blind to the world around me.

But that's extreme, isn't it? My choices and experiences can not really speak to other people's experiences.  Some might share in those experiences, but most people's longings do not take on such all consuming proportions, where it literally takes over the whole of your life as it did in case.

Instead we tend to feel it in increments, little by little, as it builds over time.  And it happens in those random moments when we find ourselves alone and contemplative.  And the truth is, it can happen to anyone, even the happiest of people who appear to have the 'perfect' life.  Wealth, status, luck, romance....none of these things can keep one from feeling those pangs of longing.  Because for all of the value we place on them, they are still superficial affectations which can only fill that void for a as long as one can remain in their 'dream'.

Imagine the mother who seems to have the perfect life.  She has a hard working husband and 2 beautiful children that she truly adores.  She has the gorgeous home she's always dreamed of.  And yet, despite all of these things, she still feels an undefined longing for something just out of her reach.

Imagine the wealthy child of two very successful hardworking people, who lives in a mansion and has all of her needs met.  Just because her needs are met, it does not mean she does not long for more time with her be loved, to be coddled, to be cared for.  Instead, she has known nannies and servants as her caregivers, because her parents are to busy with their work and their social lives to give her what she longs for.  Money is no salve to that wound.

Imagine the man who is raised in poverty and dreams of doing something important with his life.  And yet, he finds doors closed to him because he lacks the grades, money and/or status to rise above his present circumstances through educational means.  So instead he turns to drug dealing to rake in the money.  The money he makes might buy him the material things he wants and the drugs might allow him to forget his circumstances, but is he truly fulfilling that longing?  Or is he simply paving over that longing with other things?

Imagine the teenager suddenly making the transition from child to adult.  Imagine the fear and anxiety they must feel as they move into the adult world.  Some do this with  the safety net of their family's support, while others do not.  But it does not change the fear and anxiety at facing so many new experiences on their own all at once.

My point in offering these examples is simple.  Everyone experiences longing, despite age, race, wealth, status, and so on.  It is part of the human condition.  Sometimes it is undefined and hidden, only showing it's face when we are alone.  Other times, it has definition and direction, consuming our lives in such a way that it changes the course of how we live.

What is it you long for?  Do you even know?  Have you ever stopped a moment to truly and earnestly consider the question?  Or is it one of those things that you feel is best avoided because you think there is nothing you can do about it? How do you escape then?

Consider it, because in its reckoning, you will discover much about yourself that you probably didn't know before.  Or perhaps you did but refused to acknowledge.  Either way, though, think on it.  It's well worth the introspection.  ^_^

The Longing

In the darkness, I could not see
the demon which was clawing at me,
crying out to rise in haste,
while leaving me in mortal waste,
because this thing, I could not let go,
untouched seeds I would not sow.

So instead it came in dreams,
endless halls of running to extremes,
while haunted...chased, I ran in fear,
with screams of terror no one could hear,
for only one could hear my call,
which echoed through the endless halls,
that thing that chased me endlessly,
into a corner where I could not flee.

And there I stood in terror's grip,
letting not a single breath slip,
as it came to stand before,
while I crouched upon the floor.
And to that unknown entity,
I would not raise my eyes to see.

So it took my face in hand,
and raised it high to see the land,
and to my mortal eyes behold,
before me stood a mirror old,
and in it's breadth, there I stood,
no longer concealed beneath a hood,
that left me breathlessly distraught,
running away from all that I am naught,
and instead it stood to wait,
beckoning me to embody my fate,
for there came arms of tender embrace,
bringing finality to the endless race,
that I had run until that time,
where now I stood enshrouded in the sublime.

From the depths of the darkness unknown,
where I came to stand alone,
to face a nightmare demon it seemed,
I found instead myself redeemed.
For what was unseen, I did embrace,
leaving the endless cycle in a state of grace.

1 comment:

  1. WOW! That when straight to my heart!
    Thank you for your eloquent words!
    With Gratitude,