What in the world are we doing here
what is the meaning of it all
to fall in love, to make a life that’s calm and stable
or just to find a place where I belong
what in the world am I looking for
what is the peace that I can’t find
this ‘longing for’ I can’t ignore, but am I able
to see the good and taste it on my tongue
My best friend Natalie and I talk a lot about heaven. It seems as natural now as brushing our teeth. But it wasn’t always.
We had to walk through a few rotations around the sun together to infuse an eternal perspective into our friendship’s DNA. Both of us will tell you we’re so grateful for these times—which are never really over—that grew us up and put our faith through fire. When I was probably 18-23, I developed a tender, intimate love for Jesus. But because the depth of this love was birthed from brokenness, it stirred in me a deep longing for heaven that was as painful as it was sweet.
Natalie and I fed ourselves with a steady stream of voices who shared this eternal perspective and mentored us along the way. Phil Wickham. Elisabeth and Jim Elliot. Steven Curtis Chapman. The Apostle Paul. During our college years, we were also surrounded by a collection of young adults (and our precious leader, Mickey) who were strangely sober-minded and shared this longing for Jesus. It was in the conversations and prayers held in the halls of those fellowship rooms and on college campus lawns that we grew our desire to “run with perseverance the race marked out for us.” As Phil Wickham sang, our souls were growing restless for the place where they belonged.
That longing never went away. But if I’m honest with you, here in 2017, it’s grown bittersweet in a different kind of way.
When you’re 20, even the bitter sting of this joyful longing seems bearable when you believe circumstantial hope is just around the corner. Now that I’m almost 30, my true home still feels so much further away than I ever imagined it could, and it’s left my heart heavy. It’s also made me realize that the joy of my past was somewhat attached to just that—circumstances. As if I was running toward a finish line, and the finish line never came. I don’t like confessing that, but there was something about the eager, expectant faith of a 20-year-old that’s been shattered, and it breaks my heart. I want to be the Bailey of 2008, who maybe cried in her car from feeling terribly alone and afraid, but somehow still found joy and strength beneath the surface because she knew her hope outlasted that day. Now, when I find myself in the same situation, I often feel disillusioned.
I want my hope to outlast every day because it surpasses them all.
All that to say, I always appreciate it when I find younger artists who have an eternal perspective. Caleb Chapman of the band Colony House is one of these. The new album, Only the Lonely, releases 1/13, and on it is a gem of a song called “This Beautiful Life.” It’s bittersweet and lovely with lyrics of longing and a compelling melody. Serving as the caboose for the album, it’s the final song that lifts your eyes upward, reminding you of your True Hope waiting in the midst of this “wonderful, terrible, beautiful life.”
Restore to me, Jesus, the joy of your salvation.
. . .
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