I wonder, what comes to mind when you think of the word "yearning"? I'll be honest, it has me circling in my own bowels (maybe too much info although the language of scripture often speaks of bowels and yearning all as the same) with the deepening presence towards, and a longing and a thirst that's kind of uneasy, it's the feeling of want and desire. It is more tender than graceful than just a reaching or looking with intent, although we all know how that can unfold in real life; it's part of that beginning story in the Bible right!?
Eve, life in Hebrew, reaches from a position of, well, the only doubt question in the book, "Did God really say?" I mean, isn't this what happens in life? We can confuse yearning for lust, and the longing becomes a straining reach, because in fact, we forget we can bring our doubt to God rather than fool ourselves into thinking he wants nothing to do with that kind of confusion and our yearning essence.
I think it would be important to note here that the Hebrew word for soul is so much more than what some of us have come to understand it as. The word in Hebrew when referring to soul is actually Nephesh which is this whole beingness of who we are, no separation. No need for, "Oh my heart says this, my body felt this, my mind thought this;" it's whole being! This is the yearning that I am thinking of when it comes to the heart on this day.
There is a deep yearning towards the nephesh of who we are; from the nephesh of who we are, while still the longing presence and holy reality that God continually makes clear to us, is that he is yearning towards us in all the same ways. The woman at the well account in the gospel of John 4 gives us a glimpse of one part of this yearning that he has for his children. He is always yearning to be present with us, wherever we are and with whatever we carry. His yearning speaks to me of the way a creator God is called forward to the return of coming home to truly who we are.
There is a beautiful verse in a poem from Macrina Wiederkehr; it goes like this.
Oh frail and glorious creature
from the crib to the cross
to be divinized is your destiny.
Your original union cried out
to become fleshing your life.
Your frailty and your glory
Your littleness and your greatness
yearn to come home in your heart.
To me this yearning heart-nephesh is on the path of returning home, and in a week where the whirlwinds of Saint Valentines remind us to stand for the things that matter to us because they are in fact part of the calling on our lives, and when in those moments of grieving in my personal story of being single linger, I can choose to bless and not curse, turning to God with my fear and doubt. I am deeply reminded that this is not an isolated journey home, but a journey of solitude worthy of the time and space that it has been given.
Whatever yearning looks like in your life, I hope that you can truly know that the healing will come, the waters will start flowing again, the Christ will meet you at the well and will grace you and walk with you and life will happen. I hope your whole being will know that it is returning towards the season of spring where new things will come up from the ground, and that your tears only want to be seeds, deposited into a ground ready for more. More of you. Yearn on dear heart, yearn on.