Sometimes my yearnings tap me politely on the shoulder and I turn to look them straight in the eye. On other occasions, they loom before me, rending moot my choice of whether to look. And - this last option being the least desirable in my mind - sometimes they sneak in the back door, lurking until I stumble upon them, half-frightened, half-amused. Recently my yearnings have been of the latter, sneaky type. My yearnings have surprised me - in their content, their frequency, and their intensity. So intense I ache, so frequent I drown in emotion.
I have always loved the city - its vibrancy, diversity, architecture, and people. I love being surrounded by people and activities because I derive energy from them. But lately (and I believe this yearning has been sneaking up for a good many years), I yearn for a quiet life where I form a connection to the land I live on, and participate in a close-knit community. I long for simpler times where days were spent in physical labor. A time with no ipods, facebook, cell phones, email, or blogs. A time where people sat and really communicated with one another. A time where people did things slowly and enjoyed the process in addition to the end product. A time when people knew where their food came from and felt their souls' connection to God's creations. A time when people were still and did not seek out endless distractions.
If my yearnings had free reign right now, I would pack up and move to a farm, grow my own food, write snail mail, rock on my front porch, sit and talk with a few dear neighbors and friends, and sew my own clothing. Some may say this is turning my back on the inventions and creations that are meant to improve life and make it easier. But I say that in many senses, these very things have caused me to move beyond what is spiritually good for my soul. Cell phones, facebook, email, and blogs are supposed to help us stay connected with one another. But I feel disconnected. My spirit is splintered into competing factions, creating spiritual disharmony. I feel chaotic because of the many things I have to do to keep up. I feel like life continues to get busier and busier in an interminable spiral. I have no time for stillness. I intensely desire to step back and denounce it all. But I don't think that's the answer. I need to focus on simplifying life, cutting a deal with opposing factions. I believe it's important to discover how to live in an increasingly (and unnecessarily) busy life. That is my challenge and, I think, our generation's challenge.