I was giddy. Unbelievably giddy. My excitement matched what I can only imagine being given a free ticket around the world would feel like. The day had finally come for me to move into a community house with my wife and four other people. Our whole relationship, my wife and I had dreamed of sharing a space with like-minded people who wanted to intertwine their lives with others. But now, two years into living out one of my greatest dreams, I find myself re-thinking it all. Why doesn’t it feel like I thought it would? Why am I still longing for more?
Over two years ago, a couple from our church shared with us about their vision to live in a community home. Apparently, my wife and I weren’t the only ones growing frustrated with how our society was being built on needing each other less and less. It was the first time we didn’t feel like we were completely mad! Not long after, the path was paved — we were moving in with people we barely knew (risky, I know)! Despite the lack of history between us, God had united us through a similar conviction to choose community and a deep desire to live in a space where we would have no choice but to run into each other.
Like most dreams, however, it started to fade. As schedules got busier, once anticipated family dinners became less of a priority. Our enthusiastic greetings turned into simple ‘hey’s’ when we ran into each other. Talking into the wee hours of the morning became a luxury we couldn’t afford. What I once thought was the best life had to offer became a group of people focusing on things besides the house. Was this still my dream?
Is this it?
Two years have passed since I first moved in and I find myself somewhere I did not expect. This pandemic season has slowed activity all around us, forcing me to sit in a chair and reflect more than usual. What I feel and experience today is drastically different than what I thought my dream would feel like. Moving into this community home didn’t satisfy my cultural frustrations or fix my loneliness. Something deeper was going on.
Yes, we share food without keeping tabs, have regular family dinner nights, and have even taken family portraits. And yes, it somehow works without a cleaning schedule. It’s the dream I wanted to live. But here I am, left longing for more.
I’m realizing that this is not the first time this feeling has emerged. Maybe you can relate. Have you joined a church thinking “this is it!” and found yourself wanting to leave a few years or months later? Have you found a friendship that just seems to ‘click’, but later on gets tiring to invest in? Do you worry when your marriage doesn’t feel like a whimsical adventure of fairy-tale love?
Maybe it’s not the community house at all that’s ‘doing this to me’. Maybe the house is not falling short of being a beautiful glimpse of community. Maybe it’s actually as good as I had always hoped, and yet maybe, just maybe, my heart will always desire more.
What I am learning as each year passes is that the feeling of longing for more points us to a story that has unfolded deep inside our souls.
A perfect world
Before sin entered our world and hearts, humanity lived in a perfect place where we knew the fullness of God’s presence. Life was as good as it could ever be. This is what we were created to enjoy. As we navigate our fallen world now, our deep longings tell us something about this environment that we once knew so well.
Thankfully, that’s not the end of the story. What Jesus accomplished gives us the promise that our space and God’s space will once again come together in perfect union. He secures and promises a time to come that will be much better than your graduation, wedding day, or dream vacation, and even far better than a post-pandemic world going back to normal. These moments echo tastes of what is to come — that one day all things will be restored, all disappointments redeemed, all longings satisfied, and all of our miseries rectified.
Longing for more
If you’re like me and recognize in yourself a pull that never seems to be enough, don’t lose hope, and don’t give up. Remember that we were created for more. The dissatisfaction we feel right now, though painful, echoes what our hearts are longing for. We once knew perfection, and we will know it again when Jesus returns.
This community house is beautiful. More beautiful than I can ever realize on my best day. When the feelings of excitement fade and disappointments settle in, I remind myself that this is still what I have dreamed of. Even though it feels different, this is where I am supposed to be for now, and this is one of the greatest seasons of my life. I will keep serving, keep listening, keep doing dishes, keep suggesting game nights, and keep loving despite any present pain. And I will keep my gaze on things above, being thankful that the longings in my heart will one day find their fulfillment in the greatest dream of all.