That Holy Ache

Spring 2017


I awake with that Holy Ache.

If there is any time I feel this acutely it’s on Monday mornings, where I try to move between a resurrection Sunday and the real-world Monday. Where I move from the weekend rest and peace, to the week day chaos and problems.

We who are human know this Holy Ache. It is something that transcends cultures and generations, something that will be part of us until our life on this earth is complete.

It’s the one that reminds us that we are in between. We are in the not yet; the messy middle. That place where we know what we see is only a fraction of the real story, yet we ache for that real story to be revealed, to come to fruition. We are ‘between the lost and the desired’.

A Holy Ache.

That ache we feel when we read or hear the news and our hearts stop with the horror of it all, the longing to make all right, to gather up all the orphans, the widows, the sinners and show them the love of God. The holy ache that acknowledges we are capable of so little in comparison to the great need. That ache we feel when we are at a funeral of one we love, knowing we will never see their faces, hear their words, hug their bodies again. That ache we feel when the rich thrive and mock while the poor struggle to survive. That ache we feel of injustice and wrong and all those things that remind us we are in the between.

It used to be that the holy ache would direct me to despair. It’s all too much, I thought. It’s too hard. Seeing through a glass darkly is not enough. But lately I have embraced the holy ache as an integral part of my faith journey – a critical part that brings me to a greater love and desire for God.

Yesterday our priest said it well. We are caught, he said, between irrational joy and sorrow.

I have embraced the holy ache as an integral part of my faith journey

Irrational joy and indefinable sorrow.  Waking to the smell of spring, knowing we are alive, seeing new buds coming out on trees and bushes fills us with joy, even as we face the sorrow of a world that is not as it should be.

So welcome to today’s Holy Ache – may we walk in faith that aches will be redeemed and in the middle of Holy Aches we may know Holy Joy. 

“The settled happiness and security which we all desire, God withholds from us by the very nature of the world: but joy, pleasure, and merriment He has scattered broadcast.  We are never safe, but we have plenty of fun, and some ecstasy.  It is not hard to see why.  The security we crave would teach us to rest our hearts in this world and oppose an obstacle to our return to God: a few moments of happy love, a landscape, a symphony, a merry meeting with friends, a bathe or a football match, have no such tendency.”

Our Father refreshes us on the journey with some pleasant inns, but will not encourage us to mistake them for home.” from The Problem of Pain by C.S. Lewis

One thought on “That Holy Ache

  1. I grieve for my only child…28 months ago he left , 23 years old
    and although Mondays always were difficult as work and life began…I dread them now as the start of a week of life. Oddly its Mondays , I do not work away from home, my week can begin anywhere…its Mondays still,
    I always felt Sundays were sacred, began with my Catholic upbringing, maturing to a day of rest, no plans, peace as I found myself alone…son at that time away, college, life, and no partner , divorced.
    Savored my Sunday without plans unless I wanted. Lonely day turning into a night of peaceful sadness until my son died. Every day turned into a monster and Mondays were horrific…when I worked full time away from home , the ache was excruciating…joining the world and people and the work I loved but was not consoling… and now that I am not working away…. Same…. same ache but its become art of my path, my grief journey and it has changed, as I have and is as reliable…the dreaded Monday. But it remains and at times I realize it has just changed days.
    As my teacher and spiritual friend has told me don’t judge this time, this day, Monday, yourself, any of it… Let it be…
    I read your words and there was my truth, spiritually and physically. Your words are for the day after Easter…but each Sunday has the sacredness for me . connected with your holy ache as I live aching to see my son and return home to God where I will be without this ache.
    As I have “indefinable sorrow ” and no “irrational joy” at this time…I holy ache every day .
    Thank you , your writing many times touches me, feels true to my soul.


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