Our Deepest Longing

There is a longing in each of our souls that we cannot articulate precisely. I believe that great artists, whether they are musicians, writers or painters, often attempt to convey it. In my case, it takes the form of a reoccurring dream: I have just graduated from High School. I am with a girl that I dated at that time. We are at a party. At some point, she is gone…

I often think about my childhood, so long ago. The carefree, go-on-forever summer days. Buying a soda pop from a cold variety store fridge. Playing card games with neighbourhood friends. After a hot, humid day, sitting on my front porch with a friend, looking up at the stars, grateful for the night’s coolness…

In the summer of 1978, I pined for a Portuguese girl. We were both 16. I would bicycle past her house on many afternoons, hoping that she would be outside. Once, she agreed to go for a ride with me on her bike. We went to Toronto’s High Park. I gleefully rode down a sweeping hill, looked behind me and saw that she was gone. I backtracked and found her sitting in a perfect scene, on a park bench, beside a quiet pond. I gently pinched the skin on her white thigh…

Just before I wrote this, I listened to Elvis’ great song Kentucky Rain,

“Seven lonely days and a dozen towns ago
I reached out one night and you were gone
Don’t know why you’d run, what you’re running to or from
All I know is I want to bring you home…”

Yes, we are all longing for something that we believe will ultimately satisfy. The TV commercial says it’s a Snickers bar. The politician says, “Just elect me and you’ll see.” The colourful travel brochure says it’s south of the border, and the car salesman says it will only cost $499 a month.

I’ve sampled the devil’s wares many a time, and I can tell you, that lasting satisfaction is not there. It is in that little faded book of books, the one that I got for free in Grade 5. I also saw it in Maria’s eyes when she said, “I do.” I hear it in the sleeping gentle quietness of my child’s nighttime room. I feel it, deep within my heart, when the priest says, “I absolve you.” It is there, when You are on my tongue, when I feel You slowly dissolve and enter into my deepest being. I beg You to live within me, keep me from evil and be with me forever.

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