I got out of bed this morning, showered, had my quiet time, came to work, had breakfast, took my antidepressant and vitamins, looked at my computer screen, and put my head down on my desk. Can I really get through another day of this? I am convinced man was not created to stare at a computer monitor all day–it’s only Wednesday!? I slowly lift my head and start working, but it’s not long until I lose interest and some random thought crosses my mind like, Ostriches are so tall and gawky; I wonder how they mate, think ill Google it. I’ll follow one or two of these rabbit trails for a minute and then get back to work, but from the deepest part of me, the Romance whispers “this is not what life is meant to be,” and I know its true.
“However the Haunting comes, it often brings with it a bitter-sweet poignancy of ache, the sense that we stood at a crossroads somewhere in the past and chose a turning that left some shining part of ourselves—perhaps the best part—behind, left it behind with the passion of youthful love, or the calling of a heart vocation, or simply in the sigh of coming to terms with the mundane requirements of life.” – John Eldredge & Brent Curtis, The Sacred Romance
If I’m not careful in these times, and I let the mundane completely take over, Ill sigh and start telling myself how I peaked in kindergarten and its been downhill ever since. Then the should-have’s will start up–I should have stayed in school, I should have gone back to college when I was a little younger (like four years ago), I should have not spent those 20 or so years drowning myself in alcohol and ingesting every recreational drug I could get my hands on. Then the should’s kick in–I should go back to school, I should find another job, I should move to the mountains of Colorado. Before I knew about the Romance, I would spiral for days, or worse, try to stimulate the mundane with a favorite addiction.
“Whatever the object of our addiction is, it attaches itself to our intense desire for eternal and intimate communion with God and each other in the midst of Paradise” – John Eldredge & Brent Curtis, The Sacred Romance
The plethora of voices from my past step in to keep me from going down this path–“be grateful for what you have,” “quit feeling sorry for yourself,’ “you can’t change the past,” pull yourself up by your bootstraps.” (What the hell are bootstraps anyway?). But if I can quiet these little poser voices, and listen closely to the intimate voice within, the Sacred Romance says something very different–“I hate that you’re in pain; it matters to me. I love you so much and I grieve the losses in your life with you,” I am moved to tears, and something is healed. Healing is so much better than bootstrap-pulling.
The Romance is a healer; it haunts through the mundane, but also calls to me through love, beauty, adventure, and even battle. A winter hike in the Rockies in fierce wind, walking through vast desert under starlit skies, the full moon reflecting on the waters of the Gulf, a dance into the mystic with my true love, the sparkle in my grandsons eyes, a memorable conversation with a new friend, swinging from rocks on the side of a mountain, kayaking in the ocean, trail-running through the woods, fighting to free someone from bondage, and seeing my prayers answered on behalf of some dear heart. These are all beautiful things that bring life, temporarily, but they are enough to keep me going, and hoping. They are a partial glimpse of the Life to come, signs pointing to the Eternal, and I am grateful for them.
“Our Hearts are Restless Until They Rest in You” Saint Augustine
My life really is split between the Sacred Romance and the “mundane requirements of life.” Both are necessary I suppose – the Romance to bring meaning, life, and hope of things to come – the mundane to keep me longing for…well, the Romance. I give the mundane a pretty hard time, but without it I might become just a little too satisfied with this life, and miss out on the Eternal – a case of “the good being the enemy of the best,” as Oswald Chambers wrote. Longing and desire may seem cruel in the mundane times, but I have to remember that they are good. They keep me searching for, and walking toward, freedom, and there will always be more available. Chuck Chamberlain said “there will always be as much in front of us as there is right now.” I believe that is true. There will be more hurt, more healing, more freedom, adventure, and love, but I won’t find complete rest until I am finally in the arms of the Great Romancer.
I really should move to Colorado though…