I just read something in a book telling me to “allow yourself to experience the ache within you for something beautiful.”
They get it. They know about the yearning. The one I feel, not all the time, but enough to give it a name. The one that makes life wonderful, while also producing an ache. That’s the perfect word. A heartbreaking, heart-lifting ache. A beautiful paradox.
I search, more and more unceasingly, for something I know I will never fully have on this earth: completion. And yet I continue. Because once you’ve tasted truth, once you’ve glanced at the eternal, you cannot remain content or satisfied with the world around you. I can thank a friend for introducing me to the Brazilian word saudade.
“Saudade describes a deep emotional state of nostalgic longing for an absent something or someone that one loves. It often carries a repressed knowledge that the object of longing might never return. It's related to the feelings of longing, yearning.” -Wikipedia
We all feel it. We all know it. It’s different from a simple want. We want tangible things like food, clothes or money. Yearning comes from the soul, from our depths, from our inner being. From the groans that escape somewhere among our twisting, churning, beating, expanding organs. Somewhere indescribable yet within us just the same, regardless of how many anatomy charts we look at and explore.
The feeling you get from reading hauntingly beautiful prose, from listening to music escape and soar from instruments before your very eyes, from a statement that spills out of another’s mouth that could have been from your own, from the soft colors that lazily change as the sun descends, from sitting quietly in a cavernous cathedral and feebly thinking if you sit a while longer, you can almost reach out and touch God.
Because no matter how much you stare at the sky, how little you blink, how hard you concentrate, how high you jump, how much you stretch, how open your hand and your eyes and your mind and your heart and your soul are—you still can’t reach. For now, you won’t ever fully. This realization breaks your open heart, and tears form from frustration that threaten to close your hand, your heart, your eyes, your soul or maybe just your palm.
But the tears also bring laughter. Because this yearning signifies that those organs are twisting, churning, beating and expanding. The yearning signifies the fact that they, that you, can do more. You can do something that other forms of life can’t. That plants and animals and skeletons of human beings don’t know. You can yearn. And this yearning means you can feel. And right now you feel more alive than dead. And though it hurts you want to scream for joy. You are alive. And knowing that you won’t ever fully quench, ease, alleviate or subdue the yearning sucks. But that doesn’t stop you from trying.