Diagnosis; Discerning and naming what it is. This is one of those human mental twists that is more readily conducted upon somebody other than oneself. It is easier to see someone else’s “stuff” than to recognize it in ourselves. But, the art and science of self awareness is a set of skills, knowledge base, graces, practice and intention that can not be demonstrated in every person. There are some people who for whatever reason cannot or will not have the ability for introspection of any kind. These people seem to walk through life never having any insight into their own motivations, desires or behavior. I, of course, am not speaking to them. They just wouldn’t get it anyway.
I am speaking to you. In my recent days I have found myself in that place of restlessness. You perhaps know this place? It isn’t always or readily available to our comprehension or perception. It is a state, a mindset, a place where words like angst, restlessness, frustration, emptiness, boredom, bewildered, churned, unsettled, and wanting may be used to describe one’s emotional response to being in this position. It is that general feeling of uneasiness and anxiety wrapped in an uncertain sense of longing, but not being able to distinguish or conclude what or why or who the longing comes from or is for. Have you ever had that nagging, itching, gnawing sensation in your spirit that gets you wondering or wandering but not even sure where you want to go or what direction if any you might travel?
This is a rather common human phenomenon. It gets responded to in lots of varied ways. It is our thirst for and of “awe.” We are perhaps hardwired for awe. We seek it and than we try to package it, control it, make sense of it and use it up as we fulfill our very human need for it. Yes, “awe” a human need as real and as certain to our well being and existence as food, shelter, water and love. It has been identified as one of our spiritual needs and said that every human will seek to meet that need, that itch, that sense of something else and more is needed either in maladaptive or healthy ways.
Claiming it is but an initial step in the process of health to take care of this very real need. Claiming the feelings and the experience of being bothered, troubled, on edge, uncertain, lost or just churned is a primary consideration to fulfilling the need. There are many ways we respond to this experience. Some people wander. They may call it wanderlust and seek to scratch this itch by leaving something, someone or someplace that is familiar is search of that which is new or different in order to try and manage their longing for awe.
Other humans may try greater variety. People who need to collect experiences and travel and see new things and go to new destinations may in fact trying to eliminate this longing of awe. People may move from one relationship to the next in search of this awe. Persons may attempt to numb this sensation of longing for awe using various forms of medications and/or substances to take care of this gnaw. Persons may seek out adventure in various formats (movies, books, fantasy) in order to quench this thirst for awe.
Humans may also go to great lengths trying to keep this ache at bay or keep it silenced or non-effective for them by controlling as much of their environment as they possible can. They may attempt to order their lives and their living in such a way that the mundane, the ordinary, the status quo and the consistent rule their days so they are able to shelve, stuff or deny their need for awe and all of the various expressions that need will take for them. It is true that some people are simply afraid of the fact that they have needs that they can not be self-fulfill. Thus denying their own humanity. It’s tough being a human!
With my recent bought of “awe-desirement” I did not readily understand what was going on. I was bothered by the fact that I was bothered. What is this anxiety, this sense of “something else is needed” this immediate and relentless gnaw and why couldn’t I just find peace and serenity? What was I doing wrong and why couldn’t I just feel OK? This constant seeking for or waiting upon something else was allowing me to feel I was damaged, hurt, harmed, wounded or just a sick freak who couldn’t get it together.
And then, just as the Spirit of the Living God always does, my puny little mind with my prune-wrinkled heart was awakened in a moment to see that the longing, the angst, the state and condition I wanted removed was in fact a gift. God only gives one gift. God gives the very same gift in every situation and every circumstance. God gives him/her self. The longing for awe I have been describing is not from God as much as it is God calling out to us. God comes to us in the longing and is a part of that longing.
God’s answer to everything; all of our questions all of our desires, all of our doubts, concerns and conditions of life have the very same answer from God. That answer is God. God comes. God gives him/her self to us in the desire, in the angst in the longings. God comes! God is there. God calling to God! God always answers with him/herself. God doesn’t give us reasons or explanations, but rather God comes and is with us – always as the answer to all our questions and the question to all our answers. Ours is a God who just can’t and won’t leave us alone. Me thinks God don’t know how to leave us alone. Praise be to our awesome-sauce God!