"The Divine Yearn"

To be separated from laughter
Is a cruel thing—
To leave laughter
Be taken from it
Brought to an empty
To sit in numbness
To sip from the enamel cup
Of melancholy.
To be given sadness is a
Cruel thing.
To live in it is a
Slow losing of the

I wrote this small poem on the 2 train December 2010 after a night out with friends. We had seen a movie. It was a beautiful time of laughter. I had forgotten the insecurities and the chaos that usually existed within my head. However, as soon as I said good night, laughing and running down the stairs to get the train, it returned: that familiar feeling of a betraying heart that begins to reveal the raw wound that was there. I realized that I was lonely. Imagine this fact, sitting on a train filled with people after spending the evening with incredible new friends— laughing and sharing— and realizing that you are lonely. I took out my notepad and I wrote this poem. I read it now, a different man, and I think of how far, how deep I was as a person. Loneliness. I look back and I consider the fact that I had friends, a good amount, but still I was lonely. Even now, when I have grown and learnt so much, there are days when this loneliness visits like an old friend—oh so familiar. Destructive, but still familiar. Loneliness used to be my friend. Abusive, demanding, selfish.

This poem is important to me because it reveals to me the depth of myself, what was occurring in me, the thing about myself deep down that needed a voice: loneliness. It saddens me to think that I was at that location of self: desperate, yearning, needing something deeper. However, it is also serves as a reminder to me: I was once there. People are there. Even now, people are there. Lonely. Even the people with a bevy of friends suffer from this loneliness. Many suffer but never realize that they do: like a germ it lives beneath the surface controlling relationships causing conflicts and strife. It is masked by the popularity and bountiful friendships. Jealousy, anger, abuse, greed come up because people suffer from this germ of loneliness. It is not till a stripping of the self begins to occur, a painful unlayering, that the truth begins to be revealed. And the truth always sets a person free.

When I wrote this poem, I was in the midst of being stripped; my true self was being revealed. I was opened to myself. I say I was opened up to myself. Truth sets you free. I was chasing after a deep connection with something. I was looking in people. But like that night when I wrote this poem, people gave me temporary filling of laughter and peace. Yet, once they leave, the truth is revealed. The want. I wanted people to cure my loneliness. However, in truth, the true friendship I was looking for was in God. I was suffering from a spiritual lack—a lack of true engagement with God’s love.  We were made for this love. We will forever incur loneliness when we lack it. The loneliness we feel is our inherent search for our creator God who made us for relationship with him. Yet sin separates us. We cannot have this friendship that will complete us. All other friendships are blessings from him— Gifts. Once we engage in a relationship with God, he begins to bring the people (the friends) that he knows will bless you and bring joy into your life. However, until you find satisfaction in him, even when you receive these friendships, they will be marked by insecurities and fear. Until we are able to have that friendship, that true friendship with God, we will be chasing after the wind. We will try and substitute: create idols.

This is why a cross is the only thing that can fit. John 3:16. God loved the world so much, wanted this relationship, this friendship, that he gave his only son, who died on the cross, shed his blood, so that our sins can be washed away and that we can, through believing in him, have the everlasting life of friendship with God. Through submitting our lives to him, giving him back the control, letting him sit upon the throne in our heart, we begin to discover, not only a life filled with the authority and purpose that God instills when he triumphantly enters the throne room—your king—but an everlasting friendship that completes. This relationship provides us with the completion that we need and crave. When we enter into the community and friendships of others, we do not enter trying to make them into idols to accomplish what only God can, but begin true relationships and community. We can also become blessings to others who need to discover the cure from the deep loneliness they experience.

I am not the man I was when I allowed honesty to give voice to the melancholy within myself. I have gone through stripping. The old, dingy rug on the floor has been ripped up revealing what is beneath. For years I thought I knew God, but I did not. I kept him at bay. I denied myself the true friendship. My personal friendship with God is not as close as I desire but the only time that friendship will arrive at perfection is when I meet him in heaven. Until then, it is an act of moving closer in him. The closer I get into intimacy with him, the closer I am able to enter into intimacy with my earthly friendships and begin to honor God through them. However, this came through understanding the truth of his son’s death. We his creation desire friendship with him. My desire in life is for God to call me the same thing he called Abraham in Isaiah 41:8 “my friend”. 

Mohan Bell is a Graduate Student studying English Literature. He is also a writer who is seeking to honor God through his literary work joining in with many of the servants of God who in the past have created beautiful pieces of literature in the name of God's glory.