The yearnings of the heart are sometimes difficult to identify. I dropped my son off at the airport early on New Year’s Eve morning. For some strange reason, it’s typically harder for me to leave California, where he lives, than to drop him off so he can fly home. This goodbye was a little different.

longing, yearning, past, grief, grieving, grieving all things lost, long distance relationships, motherhood, trusting God, embrace the suck

We had a good visit while he was here. We laughed and had some meaningful conversations. I ran a few errands after dropping him off, and the yearnings snuck right in when I least expected.

It’s an enigma, this living 2300 miles apart. I miss having him close. I’m not fond of only seeing him four times a year either. On the other hand, I’m so happy for the life he gets to live: his career, his community, and his girlfriend. Holding the tension between those two things is real. Missing my son is real too but the yearnings reached a little deeper the last day of 2023.

The yearnings came at me from a few different directions. My last post, Hating Your Past, was on my mind. I’ve done some heavy-duty work around past issues but sometimes I can’t help those yearnings that surface when I’m not prepared. Reconciling the past with the present can be a challenge.

Sometimes the yearnings get all mixed up; my childhood friends and the times we shared, the difficult things I’ve encountered in my adult life, missing my kid, and the things that never were. Coming to terms with things that never were can be the most challenging of them all.

A friend messaged me after reading my last post. She said she was struggling with the past. Going a little deeper in our conversation she acknowledged she has a hard time forgiving herself. It’s a real thing too. Yearnings are tied to acceptance and forgiveness. How well we do those things, which in essence is simply grief work, will determine how often the longings of our hearts manifest.

When those yearnings come to call in 2024, don’t be caught off guard. We all experience them. We get to choose what to do with them. Leaning into what you are feeling goes a long way in the grief process. Feeling don’t last. They won’t kill you. Acknowledging all the things your yearnings possess will serve you well.

Yearnings of the heart will never disappear. It’s part of the human experience. They serve to remind us that this isn’t our forever homes. This life is but a breath. Embrace the suck and while you’re at it, welcome the yearnings in too.

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