"O God, I seek you, my soul thirsts for you…as in a dry and weary land. I think of you on my bed; I meditate on you through the watches of the night…" - Psalm 63:1, 6
Since childhood a man I know has been attracted to Something. He didn't know what It was back then, but he felt pulled in Its direction. It was like a strong undertow. He went with it.
In college, a friend took him to church. There he was lucky to discover that It was God. The God Jesus talked about, and talked to, at night, alone in the hills.
He started talking to God, too, saying, "Ah, God, you…" That's how he prayed, with that sigh. He heard God sigh back, "Ah, Tim, you…" Always a sigh, and a stirring.
Until a day when there was neither. No sigh. No stirring. Not in church where he prayed. Not under the stars where he pleaded. Not even in the shelter where he worked, which was disquieting, for he'd often heard God sigh there.
He'd been returned to the beginning, he thought, before there were sighs. He was bereft, but by now sighing was his habit, second nature, oxygen. He kept it up.
Sometimes he felt stupid, like a crazed unrequited lover, lobbing his longing into a void. He got over even that after a while.
He hasn't heard God sigh, "Ah, Tim, you..." for years. He knows he may never hear his name that way again. But recently he told me he's content. He has what he's always wanted.
For he's come to know that God isn't a prize at the end of his sighs, but lives entire within them, end to beginning, beginning to end. Desire is all there is, and all the way to God is God.
"Ah, God, you…"
Mary Luti is a long time seminary educator and pastor, author of Teresa of Avila’s Way and numerous articles, and founding member of The Daughters of Abraham, a national network of interfaith women’s book groups.