For the past three and a half months, I’ve been longing for this time. I’ve dreamed of December days when the homework is finished and out of sight and Christmas baking and gifts pile up instead. As a student, all semester Christmas, it seems, is as good as it gets.
Now, the bright lights blur in my eyes as I drive home from town. One whole semester, with every success and bleary-eyed morning, long day and rippling laugh, behind me. My third term is finished and there’s five whole semesters left.
I’m done. I’m here. I made it! I wrote my last exam on Tuesday and its been a week now. Yet my heart still longs for what I do not have.
I wish that I could eat the pizza in the fridge and the cookies I’m going to make, but my mouth is still sore from surgery last week. I long to have presents ready and crafts made. I want to feel useful and creative once more. Christmas day, seeing family, and visiting friends form happy images in my mind. Something about the holiday season — perhaps its the mistletoe or maybe the fact that I’m bored — makes me dream of romance. And all of a sudden, I’m caught up in the circle of longings again.
But my finals are done and I got A’s on my papers and I think “well, that’s pretty great.” The tree is up and I was able to consume a muffin today. But there is always something more that I’d like to have. That’s just the nature of life on earth, I suppose.
I get home after volunteering at the Thrift Store, which once served as my summer job, feeling fulfilled. My name tag was still hanging on the rack and everything seemed as if I’d never left it at all. I hung up clothes, answered questions, and ran people through the till a few times. The work was simple, but it gave me so much joy.
At home, the tree is all lights and the star welcomes me in. There are dishes to wash while I chat with my mom and sip coffee from my favourite mug. I find jars and napkins and tins to aid my DIY gifts and the butter is finished thawing for the sugar cookies I’m going to make.
My bible sits in the box beside me. I’ve been reading random chapters lately — mostly short, New Testament ones like Peter and Titus and John — because I don’t know where to start sometimes.
This is life. It is simple, but it is good.
I long for the future and for future days and plans and people. But today, I also give thanks for the present because it is the time to be lived in.
And I realize, that in all these longings, there is a desire to love the here and now. Longing is really a story of what we already have.