Your Heart Will Be Satisfied
I see your suffering.
I will not let that ache within you
remain forever tender and raw.
I will not let your cry go unheard.
I will satisfy your deepest longings.
I will soothe your anxiety.
I will not let you go cold and hungry.
I will not leave you to go about life alone.
I will find you wherever you are,
wrap a warm blanket around you,
make you tea,
and feed you soup and bread.
I will sit beside you until you gain your strength.
You will not be alone.
You will not walk through life wilted and hurting.
I will bring you into my arms and hold you.
I will call on the angels to guide you.
I will lend you my strength and hope.
The earth – with its flowing rivers and flowers,
mountains and forests –
will show you how see beauty again.
Your body will know comfort and pleasure again.
Your heart will be satisfied.
Lisa McCrohan, MA, LCSW-C, SEP
Maybe you are just bone tired of trying to make something work that just keeps on failing. You strive, you plan, you organize, you psych yourself up, it doesn’t work out, you feel the disheartening ache of “ohhh not again,” but eventually you wipe the tears and snot away, and you go back out there into the world with your splotchy face and you try again. But the cycle of “hope turning into disappointment” keeps on going.
Maybe you are lonely and ache for a lover/partner who sees you, loves you, and holds your aches, longings, and body with tenderness. Maybe you are lonely for community – to feel like you really belong to a group where people know your name, know your favorite brand of tea, and who miss you when you aren’t there. Maybe you are sick – again – and this time it’s more serious. Maybe there is a family dynamic that just breaks your heart over and over and over again no matter how hard you try and fix it, address it, or change it.
Lately I am sensing – within myself, within those I hold space for in psychotherapy and coaching, and out in this world – a weariness, an overwhelm, a disheartened sadness that comes from a holy desire that has gone unsatisfied for too long.
This aching, this longing, this “trying something new,” this hope, this disheartening feeling of wondering if your heart will ever be satisfied — it’s a desire for deep satisfaction. I’m not talking about the quick-fix-dopamine-hit kind of satisfied — like what you get when you press “one click purchasing” on Amazon or see that people “liked” your post on social media. I’m talking about SOUL satisfaction — that deep, deep longing in you that, sometimes, when you tap into it, feels like a gigantic ocean of grief that could turn into a tsunami if you turned you full attention to it. It feels like a soul desire that will never be soothed, fully nourished, or fully satisfied.
Sure, you’ll pick yourself up as you always do. You’ll get motivated again. You’ll get out there again. You know you’ll keep trying. But there are times when the despair stops you and you wonder, “Really, God (Universe, Spirit)?! YOU put this desire on my heart and yet it’s STILL HERE. I still ache.”
I wrote the above poem one night when I was up too late and couldn’t sleep, when all in the house was quiet, and the ache in me for BELONGING hit me. This ache is for that settled feeling you get when you are with “your people” — you feel like you are HOME. I have always longed to live in the same town as my parents. I’m secretly envious of people who live just around the corner from their parents. If it’s a healthy relationship, how lovely it must be to be able to weave in and out of each other’s day, for your children to be able to easily go over there, or for you all to stop in and share a meal together. I long for this kind of settled, comforting belonging of family near by.
It’s quite possible that this ache in me has been carried across generations. My mom grew up in a close-knit Polish community in the Midwest. Her grandma lived next door. Her neighbors were her cousin, uncles, and aunts. But several tragedies and big losses happened. My mom’s mom, father, and grandmother all died within a few years of one another — all before my mom turned 25 years old. She was pregnant with me when her mother was diagnosed with and died of cancer. She was having morning sickness with me in her womb while tsunami-sized waves of grief of losing her mother washed over her.
In their 20’s, my parents just kept doing what they had to do to raise a young family – moving a few times to other states because of my dad’s advancing career. I am sure my mom longed for her own mom as she mothered me and my siblings. I am sure she missed the familiarity, protection, acceptance, and “being known and loved” feeling of her childhood community. I don’t know how she could patiently cut my grapefruit for me or put french braids in my hair while three other children demanded her attention with grief following her wherever she went, and cultivating community in any way she could along the way.
Belonging – that longing for HOME – to be in a place where you are thought of, celebrated, and missed when you are not there — has been an ache in my soul for a long time.
But so has been a deep sense of resilience. No, not the kind of “pulling yourself up by your bootstraps” kind of “standing tall” that comes from lots of peppy self-talk and motivational quotes found on social media. I’m talking about the kind of resilience that arises from surrender and grace.
My mom is the most deeply spiritual person I know. I’d imagine that at some point, the exhaustion and grief were so much that there was nothing that my mom could do on her own – no “standing tall” and “mustering a happy face” – except turn toward her God and with naked rawness, and say, “I can’t.”
That moment — or more like MANY moments — of surrender.
And somehow, as my mom has told me, Grace enters the picture. Somehow you sense that it’s the Divine who will have the final word, “I see your suffering. I will not let that ache within you remain forever tender and raw…I will bring you into my arms and hold you. I will call on the angels to guide you. I will lend you my strength and hope…” I imagine that in someway, my mom heard the words of this poem in her own way over the course of her life when the ache within her was too much for one heart to hold. And that’s how she survived — and even thrived: surrendering, opening, and receiving. And over time, Grace walked beside her and her grief: “I will not let you go cold and hungry….I will find you…[and] wrap a warm blanket around you…” She kept breathing and surrendering.
And now as an older woman and grandma, my mom has these eyes that sparkle. Her vibration is one of love. She has this deep knowing that all is well — even if the momentary experience doesn’t feel like that. She is…at peace. She seems to embody the Divine’s promise, “Your heart will be satisfied.”
Late one night recently, I was feeling that ache for belonging so intensely. As I often do, I opened my journal and started to dialogue with the Divine. The words of this poem came to me as if the Divine was speaking them to me, “I see your suffering,” God began, “I will not let that ache within you remain forever tender and raw…I will not leave you to go about life alone…” God’s words became this poem.
It was enough to help me sleep that night. Slowly, over the next few days, I felt a softening of that ache. Instead of holding it all alone, I reached out to a dear friend of mine and I sat there on the steps of our deck out back with my dog licking my hand, my daughter inside practicing the clarinet, watching the sun set and pouring my heart out to my friend. Her presence, her acceptance of me “as I am” without judgment, and her “Ohhhh I know that ache, Lisa” affirmation that I wasn’t strange or alone in this were Grace wrapping a warm blanket around me…feeding me soup and bread. When we got off the phone, my heart felt — held. I felt strength and hope returning to me. And a few days later, I went walking with another friend for half an hour between dinner and bedtime. Another friend jumped in my car at middle school pick up and we chatted for the sacred five minutes before the kiddos came walking out. And a neighbor called me over for tea as we often do late at night once the kiddos are in bed.
Then one day, walking into the kitchen for some lunch, the overwhelming realization swept over me that in these moments in daily life of walking beside another, the ache for belonging was softened. I may not live in a close-knit Polish community where you walk down the street and everyone knows you. But with the individual friends and family in my life — spread out across the country — is my sense of close-knit belonging. I belong in the hearts of a few key people who truly think of me, celebrate with me, and miss me when I’m not around (and I them!). I am not alone. I am not going through life cold and hungry. The moments of showing up for one another are moments of Grace wrapping a warm blanket around us. And I sense that I belong. And somehow, even though I don’t live down the street from my parents and have that “everyday exchange” in a close knit community, my heart IS being satisfied. The “close knit” community idea I had is more like “warm blanket moments” of soul connection with people who love me and I love them.
If you’re still reading….I know this for you, too: that whatever the ache in you — whatever the deep soul longing within you — will be satisfied. The “warm blanket moments” of accompaniment may come in unexpected ways through something you couldn’t plan out. The “soup and bread” may come from a willingness on your part to vulnerable and reach out to tell someone what you are going through. Angels may come in disguise and show up to guide you. A new kind of strength and hope may rise up from within you because of a walk outside at sunset.
The ache may not fully go away. But it might soften. It might settle for a bit and be nourished. And that can be enough sometimes to feel the Divine’s promise, “Your heart will be satisfied.” It might be enough to “take in” that warmth, that comfort, that “I am not alone and I am loved” warm blanket, soup and bread nourishment for you to feel a sense of soul-satisfaction – of belonging, comfort, and peace – right where you are.