Deepest Longings

We were dealing with some conflict in our home the other night. Those of you who have children, or who have a relationship with any human being might be able to relate. Our approach to the conflict that particular night was an exercise in building our Emotional Intelligence. We relied on one of those printouts of a 5×6 grid of exaggerated cartoon faces expressing different emotions and feelings. We each shared which pictures matched our current feelings, and then identified the ones we longed to feel. We shared some of the same emotions of anger and frustrations surrounding the conflict, and the feelings we all longed for were slightly variegated, but all overlapped, with the exception of my son’s outlier of wanting to feel ecstatic. Collectively, we were all longing to feel content, joyful, hysterical, encouraged, confident, happy, hopeful, and ecstatic contrasted with the initial feelings we experienced of frustration, sadness, anger, annoyance, and feeling overwhelmed. Reflecting on this experience, I am struck by the reality that the deepest desire for all people is to experience all the good feelings our family longed to feel during our conflict. The challenge we all face is arriving at this reality. It takes practice, reflection, teaching, forgiveness, and often a letting go our own way to choose a better way. As I reflect on the past year of working with patrons in our community, I can attest that the people I have met also want good for their own lives. Sadly, the disappointments and setbacks of life and living in disadvantageous circumstances often make it extremely challenging for some to access the support they may need to achieve these innate human desires of feeling peaceful, content, joyful, etc.. It requires some significant hurdle jumping to survive abuse and learn to love oneself. It is no wonder Jesus knew he would cross all cultural barriers and the expanse of time with these words of hope that have potential to connect with every person’s deepest and truest desires:  “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you.” (John 14:27) And “I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly” (John 10:10) and “ I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.” (John 15:11) As I finish a year of connecting patrons to social services, I feel celebratory of the ways Neighbor by Neighbor has connected with patrons with the supportive services they have wanted and needed, and as a result, hopefully many have moved closer to their desire of feeling happy, content, peaceful and maybe even like Ben, ecstatic. 

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