A Story of Longing
There is magic in a story. Some stories can show us that the divine exists - that there are forces that make things happen. I share this story about longing.
On a cold, foggy morning I went to a large shelter for the homeless, where we were on the third session of a new program. On this day, in a small, windowless room, a woman walked in to the room where we held the circles. No one else came that day, which was unusual. But I knew to trust that this is how the circle was meant to be. Just one woman.
I liked her from the start. She was animated and had a bright quality to her, although she had lost a job, and her home. When she spoke, traces of her origins in Mexico came through in a lilting way.
“I’m glad I’m the only one,” she said. “I need to talk. There are things I can’t talk about in front of the others.” She paused. “How should I begin?”
“Wherever you like,” I said.
Her words tumble out. They fill the room with barely a pause for breath. “I have a pain in my heart. My friends tell me to get over it. But I can’t. They don’t understand.”
Lucinda speaks, moving back and forth in time. She tells us about a broken marriage, of being in Mexico as a girl, of estrangement from her son, whom she loves. Of having difficulty with a relative which meant she had nowhere to sleep. Hence, knocking on the door of the shelter, every day for a week until a space opened up. Of not wanting to be a girl when she was young. But then finding the beauty of her body. And how she used to know calm when she was a girl, sitting by the ocean in Mexico. Where did it go, this calm? She has never been homeless before.
Twenty minutes later, Lucinda is still talking and I feel as if I can’t listen anymore. But suddenly, she pauses, for just a moment.
The co-facilitator says, “There’s a Yes in all of this. Something in you knows, and then you can value it.”
And I begin to speak too, though I’m not sure she’ll understand. I tell her that I hear something in her stories. Her longing which is a natural part of her being, like a thread woven through her life.
Lucinda closes her eyes, her face serious and in deep concentration. At this point we meditate together. There's now a sense of utter peace, a stillness in the room. After the meditation, Lucinda begins to speak. It is not just her words that touch me, but the quiet place from which she speaks.
I have always had this inside me. I just didn’t have a language for it. You have given me a language. The words. Now I know I have this inside me. Everyone should know this.
This longing for the sacred in life, for the Source - is a power so potent. It can unite what is fragmented within us. When we value this longing, it flows into life. Like a green stream that runs through us, nourishing the earth.