I yearn to be reunited with someone. I can put a name to this person; perhaps you can too.
But is it the right name? What explains the churning, ever-haunting, disproportionate depth of this desire? Where does it come from, and where should it lead?
Reading Tim Keller’s The Prodigal God, I came across some typically lovely writing by C. S. Lewis, from his book The Weight of Glory:
“Our commonest expedient is to call [this yearning] beauty and behave as if that had settled the matter. Wordsworth’s expedient was to identify it with certain moments in his own past. But all this is a cheat. If Wordsworth had gone back to those moments in the past, he would not have found the thing itself, but only the reminder of it; what he remembered would turn out to be itself a remembering. The books or the music in which we thought the beauty was located will betray us if we trust to them; it was not in them, it only came through them, and what came through them was longing. These things – the beauty, the memory of our own past – are good images of what we really desire; but if they are mistaken for the thing itself they turn into dumb idols, breaking the hearts of their worshippers. For they are not the thing itself…”
“Our life-long nostalgia, our longing to be reunited with something in the universe from which we feel cut off, to be on the inside of some door which we have always seen from the outside, is no mere neurotic fancy, but the truest index of our real situation.”
Soon we will be truly reunited. And he will wipe each yearning tear finally from our eyes.