Finding the words to describe the indescribable

Finding the words to describe the indescribable January 26, 2022
I first read the word and just passed it by in my mind. It was foreign, unknown, and unnecessary. With 100,000 English words to use, why bother with another language?
Photo by Landon Parenteau on Unsplash

Dad spoke German. So did my Aunt.  But “I know nothing,” of German, picking up phrases from Hogan’s Heroes and that’s it. But still, I was intrigued and I don’t know why.

“A noun translated as ‘longing,’ ‘yearning’ and ‘craving,'” said the dictionary. “Or, in a wider sense, a type of ‘intensely missing.'”

I gulped. For my whole life, I’ve had an awkward shifting in my soul, a back and forth movement, a stammering to describe something unknowing.

“Sehnsucht is difficult to translate adequately,” the dictionary says. “It describes a deep emotional state.”

Could this actually pinpoint the hollow echo, the sad and distant goodbye, the endless waves that resonate deep within?  Or those glimpes and shadows, the knowledge that I could never put my finger on?

C. S. Lewis used the word, calling it the “inconsolable longing in the human heart for we know not what.”

I know this word!

It’s the feeling that I don’t belong, that my home is in a distant land.
It’s the wooing of another world, a place of hope.
It’s the deep question mark that is embedded in everything i do.

I have heard it my whole life!

It’s that nostalgia for places I have never been to.
It’s the love affair of Someone that I’ve never seen
It’s the longing for the longing

The enigma is this — the Germans described something that cannot be described in a word I cannot pronounce. These things shouldn’t be easy. In fact, I never want the full answer. I always want to be on the quest.

There is a distant shore, a place without a name, a destination that I cannot know — until I’ve arrived.

I am not alone, for we have all heard its calling.

I hear You.

“I will put My instructions deep within them,  and I will write them on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be My people” (Jeremiah 31:33).

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