In the Old Testament, Job asks, “Is not man’s life on earth a drudgery?” He goes on to say, “So I have been assigned months of misery, and troubled nights have been allotted to me.” At some point in life, I believe we can all relate to Job. We all have a longing in our heart for something better. We will look into this further in today’s message.
To have a restless heart and deep-seated longings for happiness and joy is to be human. At times, these feelings overwhelm us like they overwhelmed Job. But even in the most despondent moments we must realize we are not alone. Others have dark moments too. When we openly and honestly share our feelings and when we have a caring heart for the feelings of others, it helps both of us.
We cannot find joy and abundant life in the material world. We find that joyous and abundant life in Jesus. St Augustine famously said, “You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our hearts are restless until they rest in You.”
An abundant and joy filled existence is possible even amidst the pains and sufferings of this world if our hearts and minds rest in the Lord. As the song says, “No storm can shake my inmost calm, while to that rock I’m clinging.” Jesus is that rock in the tumult and strife of life.
We long for happiness and God wants us to be happy. God said to Solomon, “Ask something of me and I will give it to you.” Solomon said, “Give your servant, therefore, an understanding heart to judge your people and to distinguish right from wrong.”
Solomon’s twofold answer was insightful. First, it demonstrates a focus on other people. In other words, when we seek personal happiness and joy, it is found in having an empathetic, understanding heart towards others. His second point encourages us to understand right from wrong so that we can do the will of God.
Far too often we try to find our happiness in material things, sometimes to the point of becoming addicted or even becoming so unhappy that we contemplate suicide. As I said, we will find joy in Jesus and in serving the needs of others.
Humans have deep longings to be seen, heard, known, loved, and cared for. What does this mean?
We long to be seen. Being seen means being noticed. We long for others to see us rather than look past us. We feel seen when others care enough to make eye contact with us during a conversation. It is a painful feeling when we feel dismissed by others. We all love to hear someone tell us they are proud of us. And, of course, we all like a hug, smile or kind word now and then.
We long to be heard. We want people to understand what we are saying. Too often when we are sharing our thoughts and feelings the other person in the conversation is just waiting their turn for a rebuttal. It is a great feeling when the person we are speaking with is an active and engaging listener.
We long to be known for who we really are and not by the masks we wear. Feeling known, metaphorically speaking, requires us to stand naked in front of someone. One author wrote, “This type of nakedness shows the skeletons in your closet and the baggage you carry. Being this known is having someone be there with you in vulnerability and them loving and liking you anyway. In fact, loving and liking you even more.”
Finally we long to be cared for. We want to know that the other person cares for us and has our best interest at heart.
We must realize that other people have these same longings too! In fact, we must realize that it is precisely when we help others feel seen, heard, known, loved, and cared for that our own needs for these things are often fulfilled. We need to be active listeners, we need to be fully present to others, we need to validate their feelings, we need to listen without trying to “fix” them, we need to be empathetic, and finally we need to be nonjudgmental.
If we desire to bring joy to others, we must first find it ourselves. We all know that we can’t share what we don’t have. It should comfort us to know that even if every other person fails to meet our needs and fill our longings, Jesus will always be there for us. He always sees, hears, knows, loves, and cares for us.
To summarize, all people have deep longings. Jesus wants to fill these needs. However, He has fashioned us in such a way that our deepest longings are met by helping others feel seen, heard, known, loved, and cared for. Let’s help ourselves by helping someone else today.
St. Thérèse de Lisieux sums up today’s message with this short but powerful quote. “A word or a smile is enough to put fresh life in a despondent sole.”
Heavenly Father, my heart longs for you. I long to do your will. Help me be present to others who have these same longings. Give me the courage to bring your love to them. Amen!
If you are in the Central Florida area, please join us for the
BLESSED BROKEN AND SCARED MEN’S RETREAT
Saturday February 17, 2024 St. Theresa Parish Belleview Fl.
9:00am –3:30 pm
Call Parish Office for details (352) 245 2458
As always, I love to hear from you. You can email by clicking here.
Please take a moment and share your thoughts on today’s message below: