I think that longing might be the opposite of worrying or of complaining or missing or hoping. I’m not sure.

I came across the work as I was reading Liturgy of the Ordinary the other day. The writer used the word “longing” a couple times. And it stuck in my brain.

I’m well aware of grief, both my own and that of others. As a chaplain, I am acquainted with grief. In grief (which is our response to loss), there are layers of feelings. Among them is the sense that this isn’t right.

Not in the sense of “I’ve been done wrong to”, though that is often part of grief. But more in the sense of “I know that there is disorder because of selfishness and rebellion and evil, but that’s not how things were intended to be when God started things.” Said more simply, “this is how things are, but not how things are meant to be.”

When we have that sense, a way of describing our desire for a recovery of how things were meant to be is “longing.”

Paul talks about the pain of life, full of persecution and frustration and conflict and resistance. Much of this pain isn’t punishment, as some of us assume. It is what life includes. Then Paul writes,

Meanwhile we groan, longing to be clothed instead with our heavenly dwelling, because when we are clothed, we will not be found naked. For while we are in this tent, we groan and are burdened, because we do not wish to be unclothed but to be clothed instead with our heavenly dwelling, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life.

This is not the end of the story. There is a restoration, a reconciliation. Not now, but sometime. And certainly. And the word he uses to describe our desire for that is “longing.”

I think many of us are longing.