A friend and I were talking tonight, as my friends and I often do, about longings and desires, wants and needs. And what we do with the things we say we don’t want, or don’t need, but really, we do.
I find myself often enough drowning out genuine wants and needs simply for fear of not being able to obtain them, or perhaps the reality of having to ache while I wait. I’ve written on this a million times, but it’s so true. I just keep stuffing the longing, quieting it right up, just cause it hurts too much.
My trepidation and sorry lack of courage are so disappointing. I fancy myself one of the brave poets, an intrepid world-travelers, or a missionary who will risk her entire life to bring a village to Jesus. I think of myself that way, and yet, I’m afraid to pray for a sick person. I spend my life on the mediocre for fear the great won’t come to me. Or that I will fail on my way to the great. Or some other suppressed reason, perhaps.
I would like to get in trouble a little more often because I’m doing so many innovative things, pushing boundaries for the sake of good, raising eyebrows, but believing so deeply in something true.
I come up with reasons why now is just not the right time to be a successful writer, or to take a trip, or be set on fire for God. I tell myself we can’t possibly afford another child. I’m so tired as it is.
I sigh at nights because this is still not the life I want to live, and yet I’m afraid to ask, afraid to long, afraid to yearn.
Afraid to get my heart broken.
I’ve been brave some of the time. I was brave enough to pursue God completely and somewhere in there, my husband came to me. I was brave enough to cry and beg for a child, and then to surrender the desire, and then I got that dream too.
But I’m here again with ambiguous desires, living in this floating, non-committal state where I refuse to give my all to something. To want it so badly, but to let myself trust God at the same time. To insist that he is good, that he loves me, and that he’s not going anywhere, despite what my circumstances say.
One of my greatest wrestlings with Hope is immortalized in this prose piece I wrote in the first few months of trying to get pregnant last time. My heart hurt so early on. But as I wrote this, I gave up a bit of my suspicion toward Hope and found it might actually be worth it to give her some of my time.
You can read this excerpt here below. Then visit The Burnside Writer’s Collective to read it in its entirety.
Hope, The Foolish Child
What shall I do with Hope, this child I can’t stop feeding?
I want to kill her, but she says the sweetest things.
She knows my desire,
Keeps telling me it’s coming, it’s coming.
I start to think she might be a liar;
And just when I’m about to stop standing there like a fool,
Hand over my eyes,
Staring into that thin horizon line,
Just then she points, shouts,
“Here It comes!”
I squint into the light and sure enough,
Here comes my Longing.
I reach over to hug Hope, that bouncing child.
But she’s gone,
Gone to lay claim to a new desire.