Waiting for Glory

11. March 2019 Blog Posts 30

Although the wedding far exceeded my expectations, I convinced my new husband to turn our tan Grand Prix around after we had made our confettied exit.  Something just didn’t feel right.  I couldn’t put my finger on it, but I reasoned it had something to do with not thanking my mother.  Eager to get this marriage off on the right foot, my groom reluctantly agreed to drive back to the church.  Back in I went, dragging my wedding gown train, amidst the cleanup, to hug my mother and my dad.  I hesitated in that church fellowship hall for several minutes for my unsettled feeling to subside so I could begin my new life.  But it never fully left me.  And all along I knew it had nothing to do with the marriage itself.

 

I had all I had ever hoped for. And it wasn’t enough.

 

It wasn’t the last time I felt this heavy emptiness.  It showed up again at holidays, during trips to Disney, even on mission trips.  After the birth of each child, as friends suffered with post-partum depression, I basked in post-partum euphoria.   But even in those strangely glorious weeks, I felt something important missing.

 

Mysteriously tugging on me at times of my greatest happiness.  When all my deepest prayers had been realized, I felt incomplete.

 

It was more than expectations exceeding reality.  It was more than garden-variety disappointment.  The feeling ran deeper.

 

In 1986 teacher Christa McAuliffe died in the Challenger explosion pursuing her dream while I sat in a college classroom pursuing mine.  A few months later, reading Harold Kushner’s new book, When All You’ve Ever Wanted Isn’t Enough, I thought of McAuliffe and how she had her dream… sort of.  I was disappointed because the author suggested living in the moment, creating good memories, taking risks.  Have a child, plant a tree, write a book.  Something still didn’t sit right.  The weight continued tugging at me.

 

The following year we heard on our radios the new song from U2  “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For” with these lyrics invading our cars and dorm rooms and department stores:

 

You broke the bonds
and you loosened chains
carried the cross of my shame, of my shame
You know I believe it

But I still haven’t found
What I’m looking for

 

With 42 million views to date, there has to be something to this weight of universal emptiness.

 

Sehnsucht is a German word with no corresponding term in any other language.  It is, like saudade, a profound spiritual longing. But it is an even more complicated phenomenon.  Unlike saudade that highlights the absence and longing for something we once knew, sehnsucht is a longing for something we know nothing about.

 

In his famous sermon, The Weight of Glory, C. S. Lewis defined sehnsucht as an  “inconsolable longing” for “we know not what.”  A haunting, indescribable desire, always pointing us to something beyond ourselves, beyond even this life.

 

For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison.

(2 Cor 4:17)

 

Sehnsucht is the weight of glory, as we wait for Glory.

 

The weight of glory then is to be connected to God, and yet realize its inevitable incompleteness in this world. To be immensely happy and yet still missing the most important part of your soul.

 

It is finally having the very thing you had so desired and realizing that it was not what you truly wanted at all. That your soul longing involves so much more than you can comprehend or plan or control.

 

Perhaps most vividly, I have felt this weight in my health journey.  When all I had ever prayed for, all my prayer warriors had tirelessly petitioned for, wasn’t enough.  I had been called Cleveland Clinic’s “miracle woman” and I had a hole inside of me.  It felt odd and I felt guilty.  From my journal:

 

Sixteen months after being diagnosed, propped up by my device and a fistful of meds, my heart function has incredibly climbed into the low end of normal range.  I should be ecstatic.  But I’m still wondering why I don’t feel anywhere near what I had expected.  It is strange that everyone is so happy and I am holding back.  What is wrong with me? 

Doctors are shaking my hand and saying, “What a miracle!”  It is nothing short of astounding that I am alive. I am grateful and in awe of the mountains that were moved on my behalf.  And I never want to forget what happened and how it happened. I never want to seem unappreciative or unimpressed with that.  It is huge.

Still, there is a nagging inside me that says I am still incomplete. I have nowhere near the capabilities, stamina, and longevity that I had.  And yet there is a distinct lack of anything to hope for now:  nothing left to pray for, nothing left to try, nothing left to save the day.  There is a real possibility that this is as good as it will ever get.

 

Although my journal entry was about my health not being fully restored, in a sense, that’s what we’re all feeling in this life:  not fully healed, not fully whole. The weight of glory pulling when all we’ve ever wanted isn’t enough.

 

After searching decades for it, most intensely on the best days of my life, I have discovered something about this weight of glory.

 

Maybe the answer is not in trying to find it this side of Eternity.  But rather, in recognizing that we can’t.

 

Maybe the weight was always meant to pull us Home.

 

And, at least for now, maybe the Glory exists in the weight itself.

 

Please follow and like us:
error

30 thoughts on “Waiting for Glory”

  • 1
    Donna Wright on March 12, 2019 Reply

    Well Lori – You have done it once again. Another blog with my eyes fixed on the computer screen, my mind wishing I could read faster and get to the next fascinating line of text, but never wanting the chapter to close. Your ability to “paint” a story is just one of the reasons that I “click” through to your blog as soon as you publish it. You are raw, honest and gifted! I always feel like I am “on the ride” with you when you write, and I always want more.

    Incredible job, my fabulous friend, incredible job!

    • 2
      Lori Ann Wood on March 12, 2019 Reply

      Thank you, Donna. I love hearing from you. I feel like we are longtime friends. I look forward to meeting you one day. Your faith and health journeys have certainly inspired mine.

  • 3
    Bethany Wilson on March 12, 2019 Reply

    Love this! Very inspiring. Reminds me of Romans 8:18 🙂

    • 4
      Lori Ann Wood on March 12, 2019 Reply

      Yes! Present sufferings will never compare to the coming Glory! So true.

  • 5
    Nikki Herrmann on March 12, 2019 Reply

    Lori,
    I especially am touched by the fact that when you were leaving the church, you had to go back and hug your parents.
    Your blogs have helped me so much. When I am really down about something, I read your blog and I see things in a different light. Especially when you say the weight is meant to pull us home.
    Thank you for your amazing inspiration.

    • 6
      Lori Ann Wood on March 12, 2019 Reply

      Thank you, Nikki. I feel like we all have different sufferings but the same cure. The weight may come in different packages but always pulls us Home to Him.

  • 7
    Timothy Paul on March 12, 2019 Reply

    Lori,
    I can relate to the feeling you describe. Contentment does not come easy for me at times. Knowing that God has the answers gives me peace.
    Thank you for sharing your experience and lessons learned with us.

    Tim

    • 8
      Lori Ann Wood on March 12, 2019 Reply

      Tim, your honesty is a breath of fresh air. I understand about searching for contentment. I tend to rely too much on the temporary. Part of the human condition, I suppose. Great hearing from you!

  • 9
    Annabelle on March 12, 2019 Reply

    feeling empty but not knowing why… I resonate with that a lot! this helped me realize there’s a reason why the emptiness is meant to feel empty. feel’s nice to know I’m not alone in this. thank you so much for sharing! (-:

    • 10
      Lori Ann Wood on March 12, 2019 Reply

      Annabelle, when I learned about this sehnsucht, I had an ah-ha moment. Thanks for sharing your experience with it, too!

  • 11
    Emily on March 12, 2019 Reply

    Love this!! Thank you for sharing

    • 12
      Lori Ann Wood on March 12, 2019 Reply

      Appreciate your encouragement, Emily!

  • 13
    Ozie Le Sage on March 12, 2019 Reply

    So well-written and so true. This kind of deeper longing is hard for us to admit to ourselves but it’s still there and worth talking about so thank you for sharing!

    • 14
      Lori Ann Wood on March 12, 2019 Reply

      Ozie, it is so affirming to hear others know this heavy pull. Thank you for reading and weighing in!

  • 15
    Sarah on March 12, 2019 Reply

    Your posts are always perfectly timed. Thank you for sharing.

    • 16
      Lori Ann Wood on March 12, 2019 Reply

      The Spirit does the timing, thankfully! I am always amazed at how many people tell me this. I am blessed to be a messenger.

  • 17
    Carolina on March 12, 2019 Reply

    Powerful words. I admire how open and honest this post is!

    • 18
      Lori Ann Wood on March 12, 2019 Reply

      Thank you for the encouragement, Carolina!

  • 19
    Brad Grabs on March 12, 2019 Reply

    I too know this feeling. I think we are never whole in this life. I appreciate the way you have described this and acknowledged its reality for all of us, Lori.

    • 20
      Lori Ann Wood on March 12, 2019 Reply

      I am finding that this ultra-personal feeling is shared by us all. Somehow it binds us all together on this journey. Thanks for sharing, Brad.

  • 21
    Sally on March 12, 2019 Reply

    Thank you Lori for sharing your heart with us. You are a truly gifted writer. I hope you have a wide audience because I think you give a lot of insight and comfort in a loving manner.

    • 22
      Lori Ann Wood on March 12, 2019 Reply

      Sally, your words mean so much to me. I feel entrusted with a message that most of us can relate to on some level. I am grateful for the help of the Spirit in putting it into words. Thank you for your continued support and encouragement.

  • 23
    Emma on March 13, 2019 Reply

    The way you tell stories is so beautiful and inspiring, Lori! I agree with you about finding beauty and comfort in the unknown and desire. It can be difficult but is worth it eventually. Thank you for sharing!

    • 24
      Lori Ann Wood on March 13, 2019 Reply

      Emma, you’re right. It is strange that the unfulfilled desire is even better than any fulfilled one we have. Great to hear from you!

  • 25
    Ashley on March 13, 2019 Reply

    I really loved this, and what you’re describing definitely resonates with so many people. Thanks for sharing!

    • 26
      Lori Ann Wood on March 13, 2019 Reply

      Thanks for chiming in, Ashley! It helps so much when others validate what you’re feeling.

  • 27
    Janice Grant on March 30, 2019 Reply

    Lori, hearing only a portion of this story on the webinar with Jonathan Merritt made me want to hear the rest of the story. You masterfully weave words. Crossing my fingers for a Write Brilliant event to meet you and my WB family.

    • 28
      Lori Ann Wood on March 30, 2019 Reply

      Thank you for taking time to read the entire post, Janice. It means so much when a fellow writer invests. I would love to meet you as well. I have enjoyed reading your great work over the last few months. I am always inspired by both your faith and your writing.

  • 29
    Jill Drouhard Hrencher on April 2, 2019 Reply

    As I sit here during my students’ SSR class before lunch, I am deleting emails, etc. I see your blog post, and I realize I haven’t read any for awhile. I am playing catch up while my students read today. Thank you for putting into words so many things we all need to remember. I wish you were closer because I feel we would have much to visit about as the years have passed us by.
    I cherish your writings. I am anxious to catch up!
    The pictures you’ve posted bring back so many fond memories. Your childhood home, your wedding, etc. Take care my friend… and I will keep reading!

    • 30
      Lori Ann Wood on April 2, 2019 Reply

      This brought tears to my eyes. Where did the years go, my first friend? We definitely need to catch up. You honor me by reading and commenting on my posts. Thank you!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *