Someone asked me today if all my posts on social media were an accurate representation of my life.
I had to think about that.
To an extent, yes. I don’t ever lie on there. I just post whatever I’m doing, or sometimes things that relate to how I’m feeling at a particular moment.
I guess the hesitancy about answering the question lies behind the reality that social media only portrays a very small part of the truth.
I couldn’t possibly post everything that was going on all the time, or every little thing I did (I think I would bore people to death), much less all I’m experiencing interiorly.
So to an extent, no. It’s not an accurate representation of my life.
I mean yeah, I do fun things. I am with people, I go new places and spend a lot of time outside. I have a beautiful apartment and live close to a park and enjoy reading…I have a good life.
But what I don’t post, what you can’t see is this constant feeling that follows me around. Wherever I go, whatever I’m doing, it stalks me like an unwanted suitor.
It’s an ache, a longing, a dull pain that never quite goes away. Even while I do the fun things, spend time with good people, work, move from one thing to the next…it never quite goes away.
It’s this mysterious, heavy suspicion that something is missing.
Sometimes it threatens to overwhelm me with pain and frustration; such a horrible feeling. Made even worse by the fact that I do have a good life, that I have nothing (or at least very little) lacking.
What is it?
Some may say it’s depression, or spiritual desolation. Some people would recommend seeing a psychologist (I do), or praying regularly (check).
So why doesn’t anything work? Why does this ache continue to haunt me? Why, when I have friends and family and a fulfilling job and physical health and material wealth and spiritual nourishment – am I still suffering?
I’m not sure, honestly.
I think part of it is just the reality that we’re made for more than this life, and because of that we will never quite be fulfilled here…we’re not supposed to be.
I also think, maybe, possibly, that part of it is longing for my vocation.
I believe we’re called to something. We’re here, not just because we are wanted – willed into existence – but also for a purpose. In other words, we’re here to do something. This something is for our good. Our peace, our joy, our fulfillment.
Again, not complete – not the way we will be After – but to a degree. And the way we know we have a purpose, is that we long for it.
Otherwise, if someone came up to us and said ‘hey you’re supposed to do this,’ we’d probably just reply ‘I’m good.’
Right now, I’m living for myself – and it is wholly unsatisfying, empty. I long to be a gift of self, to live for others in the most meaningful – to me – way. I don’t want to be my own. I want to belong, to serve, to love. I want to have the best friend, the companion to do life with. I want to love them entirely and be known and seen. I want to have a home and to be a home. I want someone to adventure with. I want someone to pray with and to laugh with.
Desire is – at its purest – a good thing.
But it hurts.
Every time I think I’ve gotten a step closer to having this desire met, I’ve been unceremoniously shoved back to where I was. No explanations, no glimpses of what is to come…just hurt and crushing disappointment.
I often get angry. I don’t want to want this. It seems unfair that I have no choice in the matter.
I have to sit, and wait. And I don’t like waiting. I’m incredibly impatient. I like living. I like doing and experiencing. And I desperately want to do all the things I do in peace, without this ache that no number of outings and adventures and fun nights and shopping sprees will ease.
It’s infuriating, and heartbreaking.
I fall into this cycle of attempting to convince myself I’m fine, and then feeling angry that I’m not and then desperately sad because I feel so helpless and confused.
Why why why.
I have to believe it is for a reason. I have to believe that this desire is so strong because it is inevitably going to be fulfilled.
I don’t know when, I don’t know how.
And honestly, I could be wrong.
Maybe I’ll live my whole life waiting for this ache to go away.
But there’s nothing I can do about it. I have to surrender to the reality that I’m a creature, I am not in control of everything.
And I’m not giving up, either.
At least for now, I am holding on to the hope that this ache – this longing – doesn’t exist to make me miserable; it is there as an indicator of why I’m here – a reminder of what I’m meant for: to be loved and known, deeply and intimately.
I doubt this constantly and often talk myself out of this way of thinking, but as of right now I’ve continued to come back to this conclusion.
In any case, I want to make the most of where I’m at, here and now. I know I can’t make this ache go away. But life is still good, it’s still worth living fully.
I think a good antidote to the hopelessness I often feel is gratitude. Overwhelming awe at the fact that I’m here, I’m alive, I’m healthy, I can love, I can laugh and run and cry and sing and travel and read and write.
That’s worth celebrating, I think.
So no, social media isn’t the most accurate representation of my life. It doesn’t show this deep yearning, the stubborn ache I live with or the suffering that accompanies me day in and day out.
But now you know, and I’m still here, I still have a good life. And I think if I can trust that this longing exists to be fulfilled – how beautiful and wonderful it will be when it finally, finally is.
“My eyes are open,
My heart is beating,
My lungs are full,
And my body’s breathing.
I’m moving forward.”
Dear God, grant me honesty.