Why Do We Have Longings?

Yesterday’s post arose many new thoughts and feelings inside almost immediately upon publishing it.

As someone who has moved around a lot, I miss things from every place I’ve lived (yes, even the last place but only one thing–not many).  Be it a house, or the snow constantly falling (even though this was one of my biggest complaints in this place), a church, a school, a homeschooling group, or a way of life.

There are just things from my life, my past life, that I miss.  Yet, it’s not like I want them back either (okay, sometimes I do) but where I’m at right now I do not.  But it’s this feeling of nostalgia that hits when something surfaces that reminds me of my old life.

I try not to dwell on this now because it is twinged with sadness.  So is this a part of life?

I miss my college days.  Mainly because I traveled all over the world.  But I try not to think on these times because they were very depressing times and I spent most of the time lost and searching…

I look at my dogs.  Creatures who spend every moment in the present.  Never thinking about the next day or what they will do.  About their bodies getting older or the fact they sleep all day now when years ago they played all day.  Never contemplating if they will bark at the geese in our field or the dogs that walk by.  Never thinking about their death. They just do.  Merely getting up each and every day.  Living.

And they will continue doing this until the day comes when they do not get up again.  And life will go on.  Just without them.

This is how it is for us humans too.  But we don’t like to think of life continuing on without us.

But it will.

Recently, a teenage girl died in my old community.  I had met her once.  A family with seven kids, homeschooled, who are very religious.  Her obituary talked about how she loved Jesus and it was very uplifting.  I was very touched and saddened by her passing as many in the community were.  But life didn’t stop.  Life moves on.  Just differently for those she was close to.

I joke all the time about my dogs dying.  But I don’t want them to.  They have been a part of my life for 10 years now and I can’t imagine not having them around.  But I know the day is coming.  And it saddens me.

I will long for them.  Like I do each and every place I have lived.  It seems a little piece of my heart (in the case of my dogs a big piece) was left there.  Some day I’d like to retrieve these pieces.  But I know it will probably be when I arrive in Heaven.

Longings are a part of life.  It’s what makes us humans.  It’s a symptom of our love.  The love God put in our hearts.

One day life will go on without me.  I pray the longings in my family’s hearts are lessened and quickly.  For I would want them to go on living.  How God intended them to.  And not to think on me except in a nostalgia sort of way.

Ah, life.  So many questions, isn’t there?

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6 comments on “Why Do We Have Longings?

  1. Susie says:

    I have a hard time looking back. I am saddened also.

  2. Jo Martin says:

    I loved this article and your deep passion for love of others and for your dogs. I pray that you will continue to have God in you life and the lives of your family.

  3. Sweet Mama says:

    I belong to a Facebook site for people who love the particular breed of dog who owns me. She’s a rescue like many on the site. When someone loses their pet and posts, the most amazing community surrounds them, prayers for them, offers condolences, etc. I always cry for this person I have never met and for the dog I never knew. Why is that? Sometimes I cry more for these strangers than I do my own relatives who have gone before me.

    What is it that triggers this grief or longing? I remember reading somewhere that we don’t cry for the dead but for ourselves. I don’t know about that but I think I know exactly how you feel. Sometimes I long for a particular food and I can smell it, see it, taste it in my mind. I long for St. Augustine grass and the humidity of a hot summer day. I long for the vista of a coastal prairie and the Gulf of Mexico. I remember the smell of a band room and practice rooms. I long for my old body and all that it could do without effort and with so much beauty and grace. Of course, there are memories that are painful and avoided.

    Do you have church memories? I do. I remember being a little preschool child and sitting alone on a Sunday night because my mother taught school and didn’t like attending on Sunday nights. Of course, women had so much more work to do at home in those days with no convenience foods, disposable diapers, plates, and cups, and expectations of everything starched and ironed and spotless. Anyway, it was hot and there is no airconditioning and my father is conducting the music and he asked for requests and I raised my hand and he called on me. Tell Me the Stories of Jesus. I also loved Holy, Holy, Holy but that night I wanted Tell Me the Stories of Jesus. I remember being alone and not liking that feeling, probably aged four, but feeling safe. I just realized writing this that I still sit in that same spot no matter where I have lived or what church I have attended. Strange that it took me this long to realize that.

    Do you have the “do-over” daydreams or are you in a place that even if you have serious regrets about choices or moves you know that God used it for good in your life? Our teaching leader talked about that this past week. I’m not so good about letting go. I beat myself up and worse, have a tendency to drag it up to the kids. Definitely need more refinement there.

    I think this time of year makes us melancholy anyway. It’s dreary. It rains. It storms. Terrible late season snowstorms one year. Tornadoes devastating communities another. The whole February transition to March is always tough for me when I’m living north of Interstate 20. I long for the sun, the warmth of early spring, but I let the weather dictate my mood too often.

    I’m glad it is the weekend to “spring ahead” which always lightens my mood and energizes me with the additional hour of sunlight. I live in the “front end” of a time zone so it’s always so dark when we fall back.

    I wonder if the disciples longed to be with Jesus again. Things have changed so much just in the last ten years. Facebook. The ability to post with people from around the world, to play games with them, pray with them, look at their photos, and so on is amazing to me. Mobile phones with entire Bibles and access to so much content as long as the battery is charged and the cell tower is nearby.

    It’s an exciting time to be alive but to walk in the garden with my grandmother and pick a fresh strawberry again…oh, how I miss her! The Bible gives me such hope. Thank you for the post and the chance to remember and long…

    • atozmom says:

      Thanks for sharing, Sweet Mama. I don’t have do-over dreams for I see how it all fits now (not then). Yep, I have church memories but they are vague. I was so little and we never went consistently. Finally, the weather here is warming up. Although winter was not hard this year it was definitely cold! Do take care!

  4. Lorraine says:

    Our God is so amazing in how he created us with all these feelings. When I read your post it brought a lot of those feelings of longing to my mind, of things past. We are blessed to have the memories for it makes us who we are today. I also thought of how God longs for his people to know him.

    • Sweet Mama says:

      I never really thought about God’s longings in terms of my own or others’ longings, Lorraine. You make such a good point.

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