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It’s the most simplest things that makes you get nostalgic. Sometimes that power lies in the simple soap. At the smell of the Irish Spring soap someone unintentionally put out on the sink, tears gather in my eyes. I immediately relive my old memories. I remember this fresh smell. My ex husband used this soap every day. I feel his presence but he is nowhere to be found. As a matter of fact, he will be moving far away when the summer comes.
How is it that I am able to move on despite all that I am feeling? It is the most bizarre thing. Longing is a confusing sensation. It could kill you but it could also save you. Certain longing comes with hope while others come with destructive force. Life lived in the submission of the longing for the earthly desires is a total mess. Life lived in the submission of the longing for the heavenly desire of God is a success. It is that very longing that makes the painful final journey on earth endurable. Christians are able to see death for what it really is. We stare death through the ray of Christ’s beauty contained in our very own eyes.
“When men have a longing so great that it surpasses human nature, and eagerly desire and are able to accomplish things beyond human thought, it is the Bridegroom who has smitten them with this longing. It is he who has sent a ray of his beauty into their eyes. The greatness of the wound already shows the arrow which has struck home, the longing indicates who has inflicted the wound” (Nicholas Cabasilas, The Life in Christ, Book II)
One longing is bigger than another. And for the believers, the longing to return to the eternal home is the ultimate object of nostalgia. And that is how I deal with all the longings I have within my heart.
I long to restore my destroyed marriage.
I long to have a fulfilling job.
I long to have my writing room in a small country cottage.
I long to fly back to Korea to see my sister, and my ailing grandmother.
I long to drive through the Smoky Mountains, my favorite place on earth.
I long to buy pretty arts.
I long to live my life the way I want it to be lived.
But the reality is this: I get a sudden call at 5 in the morning because someone bailed out due to her sickness. I was deep into my art project, and I did not want to be interrupted. I longed not to be disturbed. But the need was there. It was a need I could not consciously ignore. So I got up, and calmed down my crazy morning hair, dressed in work uniform, and got into the car in a record speed. I was out the door in less than 10 minutes.
Off day would have been nice. I could listen to beautiful music, and enjoy the morning run, watch the sunrise, and go for a walk in the woods with my parents like we have planned the day before. But Here on earth, things don’t always go the way you have planned. Here on earth, I have assignments. Though my job is not anything significant, when it comes with a certain call of the Lord, I am a happy servant. There is so much joy in obeying Christ, so much happiness arises from freely choosing to act in his will against mine. On this path of life in Christ is a daily struggle of choosing the highest ideals. Recognizing and living the daily destinies inspired by the Holy Spirit. Suppressing one’s carnal desires and striving for the holy will. Pursuing the ultimate longing of union with God.
I am long ways from my dreams of Smoky mountains. My longing for a country cottage is seemingly very unrealistic. Some of my family members are sick, and as of today, I am adding another one on the sick people list: my sister. Her new diagnosis is worrisome, and the anxiety is spreading.
The smell of the Irish Spring soap. The news that my ex is moving very far away. The doctor’s diagnosis for my sister’s illness. Sometimes the news comes all at once and our life is changed in an instance. But this, I know. As all things did, this, too, shall pass. I know the goodness of the Lord will be revealed, and with patience, my every longing will be answered. In times of confusion and doubts, I focus on my ‘ultimate object of nostalgia’ –quoting Pope Emeritus Benedict here-. My foremost goal here on earth is to be with God. What gives me strength is the longing for the Bridegroom; ‘a longing so great that it surpasses human nature(The Life in Christ)’.
And this is my Christian experience for the day, one day of my beautiful Christian life lived in Christ.