Tuesday, October 6, 2009

the journey homeward

There's a quote I've been wanting to post as a quote-of-the-day for the last few days, but I was driving today and I realized something. It was rainy and colder than it's been yet and I was at a stoplight or something, just thinking about how the rain and the air made me want to write, how I just had the urge to write. That feeling that I always get, the one that's the reason all I ever write about is the way the air feels, lights and all that--that feeling, whatever it is. And then I was listening to my music and I had something like Hillsong, I don't know, some sort of worship music in and there was that feeling again. I thought about how little time I've spent with God this past week, and I just wanted to go and spend time with him or be somewhere with music, singing out.

I find myself wandering all over this city, sometimes, and I can never understand why. I think about the places God had put on my heart, and how there is this yearning for those places that I don't know how to satisfy. It's funny what things God will use to work things into your heart--I'm talking about movies, in this case. I was looking back on a bunch of things I wrote in 2008 and toward the end, the last four months or so, I keep mentioning Syria. And North Africa, that part of the world. There's this thing I wrote on New Years Eve, nothing at all to do with God, really, just this restlessness that I couldn't explain, and I mentioned North Africa again in it. I was watching The Visitor tonight and one of the characters is from Syria and I think that and this one specific scene in Iron Man, toward the end, may have been where this first started. I don't know where I want to go or where I'll be sent or anything like that. I don't know about Romania or Turkey or Syria or wherever--right now, it's a little after seven and it's dark already and I'm not thinking about that.

There's this urge in me to write, this longing. And it's identical to the feeling I have for different places in the world. It's the one I get when I'm outside at night and it's quiet, and there's only air and lights. And these are the same as the pull I feel to spend time with God, to worship.

It makes sense, now.

"When I attempted, a few minutes ago, to describe our spiritual longings, I was omitting one of their most curious characteristics. We usually notice it just as the moment of vision dies away, as the music ends, or as the landscape loses the celestial light. What we feel then has been well described by Keats as 'the journey homeward to the habitual self.' You know what I mean. For a few minutes we have had the illusion of belonging to that world. Now we wake to find that it is no such thing. We are mere spectators. Beauty has smiled, but not to welcome us; her face was turned in our direction, but not to see us. We have not been accepted, welcomed, or taken into the dance. We may go when we please, we may stay if we can. 'Nobody marks us.' ...The sense that in this universe we are treated as strangers, the longings to be acknowledged, to meet with some response, to bridge some chasm that yawns between us and reality, is part of our inconsolable secret."
--C.S.Lewis, The Weight of Glory

"The longings which arise in us when we first fall in love, or first think of some foreign country, or first take up some subject that excites us, are longings which no marriage, no travel, no learning, can really satisfy… I am speaking of the best possible ones. There was something we grasped at, in that first moment of lonigng, which just fades away in the reality... If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world… Probably earthly pleasures were never meant to satisfy it, but only to arouse it, to suggest the real thing… I must keep alive in myself the desire for my true country, which I shall not find till after death..."
--C.S.Lewis, Mere Christianity

But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ.
--Philippians 3:20

Something in me longs for home, for God. Something in me knows what's missing, why I wander, even if most of me doesn't understand, won't ever this side of heaven. In V for Vendetta it says God is in the rain. Well he's in the rain, he's in the way the air feels and the way the night feels and the whole sky, he's in the things that draw me, that leave me wanting more, the things I could never describe or explain or understand, and he's bigger than all of them too. I drive and drive, I sit in the dark and watch and listen, and I want to write it out, sing it out in worship, that feeling that keeps drawing me, keeps me longing for something, some place I haven't seen yet. I was made for another world, I really was, and everything in me longs for it.


  1. It's such a pleasure for me to be reading your thoughts! I feel that by reading your posts I get to know you better and better. I also love to discover so many things that we share in common.
    Anyway, I just wanted to take this minute (at work... by the way! shame on me!)to recommend a book that I really really think you will enjoy a great deal. You won't be able to put it down. It's called Severe Mercy and it's by Sheldon Vanauken. It's an autobiography. This guy was a friend of C.S. Lewis. You will read it very fast. I don't know if I should say anything else about it to convince you to read it. I think I'll just let you take my word for it.

  2. i just emailed you! and oh goodness, anything to do with c.s.lewis and i'm on that. and actually a couple of friends of mine would probably be interested in it as well. one of them read jack, which was a biography about him and she didn't like it, so i'm a little nervous, but i will see if i can find it and would love to read it =)