The Beauty of Longing

By Maria Koshute

Longing. It is the place in our hearts between the now and not yet. We tend to think of this "space" as a void, a great divide, a gap. The Longed For Thing may be any number of things: a husband, a child, a healing. The longing, as we see it, is simply an unrealized dream; it is the space between where we are now and that which we so deeply desire. But perhaps this space of longing is itself a Thing. It is a space to be acknowledged. A space to be honored, tended, and cultivated. So many times we women try to fill this space. We hate to hear the echoes that resound in the Space of Longing. We fill it with incessant activity. But what if the Space of Longing was not simply a void? Not just an emptiness. What if in itself, it is a holy, sacred space, and a holy, sacred state? 

And what if we realized that this Space of Longing was not empty, but a place of generative growth? A sort room for Him to refine our desires, even more closely to His will? Room for our hearts to stir, to yearn, louder and louder, stronger and stronger, each echo of our heartbeat, drawn into a melody by the Refiner's fire?

A few years ago, I had a particularly poignant conversation with my spiritual director. We talked of my desire to find a good and holy man to marry, and to start a family. After hashing through the ins and outs of my current situation, which was very limited in terms of suitable prospects, he looked at me intently, and said: "Keep longing."

I have pondered that simple phrase for a long time now, unpacking the depth as the longing has grown. 

This longing itself is a holy thing. This longing itself should be respected, enthroned, cherished. The longing is sanctified.

For it is in this longing that our heart acknowledges that there is hope. For when one loses hope, one loses the ability to long. How can one long for something that we have lost belief in? Our longing is a testament to the fact that we still believe that there IS good out there for us, and that it will be bestowed in His perfect time. 

Longing is not simply a lack; longing is the building of an interior Cathedral of Hope. For we have hope in the gift, but even more so, we have hope in the Giver.

I think that our longing not only edifies us, it edifies the entire body of Christ. As we "wait in joyful hope," our hope strengthens one another. I can tell you that there are countless women I know whose faith and trust and very real and candid longing truly edifies and inspires me. Their longing for the good compels my heart to do the same. Their example gives me hope, and it gives me strength.

Perhaps this Space of Longing is itself a sort of womb. A space where our surrender gives God room to come, and with His Holy Spirit, to make a new creation. Not another human life, per se, but to give a very real and life-giving spirit to us. A place where He can generate life and faith and refinement so that in our faithfulness, in our saying "Let it be done unto me according to thy word," a very real and mysterious conception of new life can be birthed into the world. 

Keep Longing.