Blonde curls bounce as she runs. Squealing she dashes through the park. Little toddler legs scooting as fast as they can. A flash of pink. A blur of joy.
She zigs and zags through the clusters of people. Early-morning dog walkers and men on bicycles with neon vests. She is unaware of the scene she is causing, she is focused on getting away before her father catches up to her.
And he’s getting closer. Thundering with big, lanky strides behind her. She makes several narrow escapes and then finally he reaches out and sweeps her effortlessly into his arms.
They swing around together. This mass of pink frills and blue checks. The sweetest sight.
My heart feels like it might burst.
I’m surprised by the physical ache. This little, hollow gap which signifies an unfulfilled dream. A longing that lies dormant, bubbling deep beneath the surface. Knocking the wind out of me when I least expect it.
I think that’s the way dreams tend to be. They aren’t always obvious right from the start. We don’t all grow up with the knowledge of who we are or what we want to be.
For some of us our dreams take a long time to wiggle their way to the surface. It’s a slow process but eventually these deep desires begin to bloom and once they do…we are never really the same.
Once we know the ache, we wrestle with discontentment.
Once we’ve found something to pursue, we cannot sit still.
I’ve always been a writer but I didn’t believe it. I’ve always been someone’s partner but I just haven’t found them. I’ve always been a mother but I don’t have a kid yet.
And now I know what they are, I’m so eager to reach out and snatch up each of these dreams.
But I’m grasping at thin air. With every prayer the answer comes back clear. Not now, not yet.
My faith gets a little shaky and my heart gets a little heavy. God, If you created me with these desires why are you keeping them from me?
Because timing is everything.
The last thing I want to do is be patronizing because I know how this feels.
I understand the lonely road you are travelling. I see the tears that slip down your cheeks when you think nobody is watching. I know that heavy weight of expectation which rests on your shoulders making you see every day in monochrome instead of technicolour.
In these times I have come to recognize that the sweetest gift a person can give is empathy. Not your condescending, sympathetic advice or your most well-meaning inspirational quote.
The kindest medicine for a heart in longing is to simply acknowledge its’ suffering.
To come alongside me, rest your head on my shoulder, to take my hand in yours and let me know that you understand.
I recognize that this wrestle with contentment is not one I will win by force. I cannot take what I feel is rightfully mine. I must be patient.
Resting in the now and respecting the not yet.
All of us are searching for our missing pieces, scrambling around to slot the edges together, trying to make sense of this jigsaw puzzle. Our hearts hammer as we fit together more and more, the picture becoming clearer and clearer.
But this feeling is bittersweet. The more pieces we add, the less we have remaining, like sand slipping through an hourglass.
We have to take the time to observe each section, marveling at the intricate details, delighting in the infuriating complexities.
I understand now that this time is precious. All I have is now. So while I’m dreaming, hoping and longing for more, I’m watching my life slipping through that hourglass…drip…drip…drip.
If I’m not careful my twenties will have passed me by and I’ll have nothing but bitter regret to show for it.
So this lesson is absolutely necessary for us to learn. All of us. Because I know you feel it too. You want to skip to the next chapter, get to the good bits.
You want to be at the top of the corporate ladder, you want the wedding band on your finger, you want the stamps in your passport.
Who of us are really content? Who of us are perfectly happy living in the now? Who of us haven’t thought of the not yet?
I think the longing will always be there. God in His infinite wisdom created me this way. A big gaping heart, eager for love, belonging, family. The feeling isn’t packing up it’s bags and shipping out any time soon. But when I look around I can see all the ways he has provided for me in this place.
My daily bread is texts from my mum, hugs from my flatmate, coffee with my cousin, cuddling my pastor’s baby, playing soccer with the neighbour’s kids, sitting side by side with friends at church.
It’s not the feast I want, but it’s the food I desperately need. The nutrients that will sustain me.
That’s the way grace is, always sufficient to meet us where we are. If He is saying not now, not yet, then I have to trust that He knows what’s best for me.
I keep my hands outstretched with abandon, giving thanks for his faithfulness thus far and eagerly anticipating his goodness in the future.
I’m learning the art of patience.
Because what they say is true…good things take time.
The best things happen when we aren’t looking for them.
And it’s not always about arriving at your destination, it’s the journey that actually counts.
So in those moments of frustration, I’m learning to laugh.
In the midst of disappointment, I’m learning to dance.
This is the beauty of life…the tension between the now and the not yet.