It’s that feeling you have when you’re sitting on your couch looking at your Christmas tree and realize that only every other light is working. (After you spent all that time spacing the strands just right.) It’s that feeling you have when you get new glasses and a week later scratch the right lens with a cleaning cloth. (The very same cleaning cloth the man who sold you your glasses gave you.) It’s that feeling you have every time you walk in your bathroom hear cracking noises under your feet because the guy who did the tilework didn’t use enough mortar or spread it evenly and didn’t use quality grout. (Let’s not mention the fact that shortly after having the bathroom installed, there was that small flood, which probably didn’t help.) It’s the feeling you have whenever you look up at your bathroom ceiling and see all the water damaged caused by the pipe that burst last winter because it froze when you were in America, even though you insisted that the heat be turned on and checked earlier in the season. (No, that wasn’t the cause of the flood. We wish it had it been.)
You know the feeling. The one you have when you have a carport built, have your first snow, and, because the guy who built the carport insisted that it be three meters high, the next morning you discover a thin layer of snow on your car because of the magic of wind. It’s like that feeling you experience every time you walk downstairs to your basement where the plumber made a mess of the pipes he installed to give you running water and flushing toilet. (They’re functional, but even other local plumbers have scoffed at the quality of the job.)
You’ve been there—that tightening of your gut when, the day after you pick up your car from the mechanic, you still hear the noises he said he’d taken care of. (At least the back windshield wiper works now.) It’s that feeling that rushes over you when you inspect the new metal piping for your water heater and you hear drip, drip, drip. It’s the one you have when you have to walk down the middle of the newly paved asphalt outside your house because the sidewalk the workers said they were going to install wasn’t finished even though your relatively short street was under construction for eight months. (Winter came and now the sidewalk is postponed till spring. Hopefully the spring of 2018.) Or when you notice a small rip on the front of your new coat.
It’s that feeling when the spouse you’ve been happily married to for almost ten years might as well be from Jupiter and speak Klingon because you two are completely unable to communicate in any meaningful terms. (If you love her more than oxygen, why does she make you want to put holes in the wall sometimes?) It’s kind of like when people who mean well and love you open their mouths when you were hoping for some of that golden silence. Or it’s like when you move halfway around the world for a cause you’re really on fire for only to realize the job requires you to work with people who have been just as affected by our common fall as you have.
And it’s that feeling that punches you in the gut when the man you’ve been laboring to mold very proudly boasts about something that flies in the very face of everything you’ve been trying to teach him over the course of the past few years.
Almost. But not quite.
Our hearts long for something much fuller, much more complete, much more satisfying than almost. Not quite will never be good enough for the soul of a man handcrafted to behold unadulterated glory. And everywhere we look, almost is the absolute best we can hope for. And as if to add insult to injury, most of the time we can’t even say almost.
What is a heart designed for pure, unending satisfaction to do in a world that is stained, cracked, and broken?
When you find out, let me know, would you?
Until then, you just have to keep getting out of bed. Every day. Even though it’s going to fall way short of your heart’s deepest desire. You just have to keep putting one foot in front of the other. Even though you’re probably going to stub a toe or two. You keep walking forward because of what awaits you. One day, if what all those ancient dead guys wrote on all those millennia old parchments is true, we truly will see the glory we’re longing for. We will know as we are known. The dim glass we peer through now will be shattered, and we will see face to face. The adoption we are waiting for will be finalized. Our wedding day will come. The groom has not forgotten his bride.
And so the hope of what’s to come—the hope of who’s to come—floods over all our almosts, and the disappointment, while not lessened in and of itself, is at least brought into proper perspective. Our life is a vapor. But he who does his Master’s will abides forever.
As you stare 2018 in the face, hope with me—not that this is finally going to be the year in which everything goes your way. It won’t be. Hope with me in the fact that the Good Shepherd hasn’t forgotten his sheep, and one day, he’ll come for us. That alone stems the tide of despair.