I find myself in the middle of the forest, surrounded by incomparable beauty. I know I should feel awe at the wonder of it all, but instead, all I can feel is an ache of longing. This pounding ache in my soul has been growing for months – maybe years. It started off small, like an itch I had to try to scratch. But each time I gently scratched the surface, instead of feeling relief, that ache, that longing, it grew deeper. So, I tried instead to ignore it, hoping that would make it go away. But somehow, it always came back, sometimes in words from friends, sometimes in a song, sometimes in a dream. 

It is now a somewhat familiar companion, a presence that I can endure most days. But today, this ache, this pang for something unknown, it’s just too much to bear. But words will not come to allow me to describe it properly. And so, all that forms in my throat is a scream. I scream into the rushing of the waterfall. I scream because I don’t know what to do with this ache. I must be mad I think, this screaming into nothing about nothing. But isn’t it something? Even without words to speak to describe it, doesn’t this deep longing inside my soul matter? And yet, even if it does matter, what do I do with that? There are no maps, no directions to follow. I can’t even see clearly what it is calling me to. 

These random bouts of screaming, in the car – and now in the forest – are becoming familiar. One would hope that they would lead to a release or an epiphany of sort. But no such luck. Instead, after the screams, I return to the bearing of the ache, forcing myself to try to glean wisdom from it until it again grows too big to bear.

I know I’m not the first, nor the last, to experience this sort of ache. I’ve come across others who seem called by the depths of their souls to something more, to better understand God, to better understand themselves. But despite this, I find myself feeling alone on this journey. Yet, I long for companions to come alongside me, companions who are willing to explore the deeper waters, and companions who also have a deep ache that words cannot express. And yet, I find that at this juncture, this seems to be a journey I must take alone.

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