There are times when I’m driving home from a friend’s house, from an evening filled with good food and wine, laughter, great conversation, and friendly competition in boggle or speed scrabble or dutch blitz, and I’m almost overwhelmed by a feeling of loneliness, of aloneness. I’m always surprised by it. It makes me wonder what I was hoping for, what I wanted from that night. Last week, my friend Andy Osenga wrote a blog post after seeing the new Batman movie, about how it revealed to him (again) that he was putting his hope in the wrong things.
“Was I really putting my hope in some movie, you might say? Hoping it would do do what? I don’t know, honestly, but I do know I was disappointed that I wasn’t different after watching it, that it hadn’t changed me. Which means, at some absurd and obviously flawed level, I was putting my hope in a movie. And this is something we all do. Whether it’s Batman or the new Coldplay or U2. We can put our hope there. Or we can put it in our pastor’s sermons or our small group’s honesty. We can put our hope there. We can put it in the girl that got away or in making love with the one we married. We can put our hope there. We have some bit of hope that it will change us, make us better. Or we’re trapped in some cycle of secrets and habits we can’t escape. Maybe this thing will curb our appetite for the sins that we feel define our secret selves, or at least it will let us not think about it for a while. Or at least it will make us feel. We’ve been so numbed for so long, for some unknown and hated reason, that we can’t feel anymore, and maybe this thing will connect us, revive us. And at some point we’ll have to look at this thing, this movie or relationship or feeling, however truly good it may be, and say: “is this all?”
When I read that the other night, this quote from C.S. Lewis came to mind: “If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world.”