What We Can Learn from Our Longing
Letter from Theresa Namenye
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Dear Sister in Christ, if you are like me, you have experienced seasons of longing.
When I was in high school, I longed for the freedom of living on my own and pursuing my own interests with reckless abandon, embarking on a ruthless journey of self discovery.
When I was single, I lived with a daily, intense desire to find the man who would be my husband. I saw so many friends in the throes of love and commitment and my heart was deflated that it was not mine yet. When, Lord, when?
When I was pregnant with my son, I achingly longed for the days when he would live on the outside and when his identity would not remain such a mystery to me.
Now being married, I find myself longing for the days when student loans are gone, when we own a cozy home instead of renting an apartment.
I find myself overwhelmed by the many endeavors I want to pursue, the vastness of improvement that I can still make in so many areas of my life, and the restlessness of my longing in general to find lasting and satisfying happiness in my current walk of life.
The struggle is real, and the longing of my heart for purpose and fulfillment and contentment is real. I chase it interiorly.
Last summer, when I stood beside the casket of my sweet father, taken so suddenly from this life, I remember feeling overwhelmed by the magnitude of my longing to be with him, to lift the veil between heaven and earth.
I promised myself that I would try to harness the powerful and painful restlessness of that burial moment in such a way that informed every other longing I endured for the rest of my life.
So now, I say thank you for the restlessness and longing that saturates my heart, because it means that I am not satisfied with a reduced understanding of what it means to be human.
Thank you for the desires that wreck my heart for happiness and remind me of the fact that I don’t entirely possess it yet. I am made for greater and eternal answers, and the aches in my mind and heart remind me that I am fashioned for the transcendent.
My heart is destined to be satisfied in such a way that cannot fully be attained on this earth, and so thank you, Lord, for these feelings that cause me to gaze upwards, outwards, and deep inside of myself.
Sister, keep seeking the seemingly distant glimpses of truth and ultimate happiness. God whispers to us in these moments of longing: it is I that sets in motion the surges of your heart. It is He who has given you such a staggering capacity for goodness and love. So thank Him for it, and, in the meantime, thank Him also for the persons and experiences on this earth that awaken within you this most human restlessness for Himself.
You are an ocean, dear sister, and you will spend all of eternity in sublime discovery of the vastness of your own heart with His.
With love, Theresa Namenye
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Get to know Theresa
Full name: Theresa Marie Namenye
State-in-life and Occupation: Wife, mother, teacher, artist, writer
Location: Scottsdale, AZ
Educational background: Bachelor’s Degree in Humanities and Catholic Culture and Philosophy from Franciscan University of Steubenville
How does your Catholic faith affect the way you live your day-to-day life?
My Catholic faith infuses my daily life with transcendent meaning. The mystery of my belief allows me to fall in love with the paradox of sacrifice and the challenge of suffering. My faith offers me hope when my intellect is stretched: in the moments of mystery and confusion, faith illuminates and calls me into a deeper participation of love.
Has there been a particular teaching of the Church that has intimately transformed the way you see yourself and others? If so, please describe.
The Church’s proclamation that “Christ reveals man to man” profoundly changed the way that I view myself, others, and the world. Christ does not want a manufactured version of me: He wants me as the fullest possible version of myself, authentically me, and He reveals more and more of that woman as I participate more fully in His design.
What aspect of your life right now do you find the most beautiful? The most challenging?
Living in the present moment, as it turns out, is a tough feat. It means taking the worry of tomorrow out of your mind, and choosing to be gratefully dwelling in the present. It can be challenging to be thankful in the hot mess when you’re in it, or in the uncomfortable moments that push you beyond your comfort zone. But I am convinced that God meets us in the ever-changing now, and it is the challenge of a lifetime to truly encounter Him there.
Tell us about your ideal outfit.
My ideal outfit is comfortable, simple, and neutral. If I don’t have to think twice about it, I feel empowered.
Fill in the blank.
My morning routine consists of: coffee, working out, and eating breakfast with my son Leo before I go to work
I’m currently obsessed with: painting and having fun in fourth grade
I feel most inspired when: I’m doing something creative
My favorite part about my life right now is: experiencing life in the present moment
The advice I would give to the millennial Catholic woman is: to stop worrying about things you can’t control and start loving the people around you