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Longing

  • There is one thing that humans strive for with every cell, every gene, every nerve fiber of our beings. ... More than Mallomars, more than hot sex, we want to belong.

  • Of one thing alone I am very sure: it is a law of our nature that the memory of longing should survive the more fugitive memory of fulfillment.

  • Oh! to be a child again. My only treasures, bits of shell and stone and glass. To love nothing but maple sugar. To fear nothing but a big dog. To go to sleep without dreading the morrow. To wake up with a shout. Not to have seen a dead face. Not to dread a living one. To be able to believe.

  • It seemed very sad to see you going off in your new shoes alone.

    • Zelda Fitzgerald,
    • letter to F. Scott Fitzgerald (1932), in Jackson R. Bryer and Cathy W. Barks, eds., Dear Scott, Dearest Zelda ()
  • Longing is all that lasts.

  • To crave and to have are as like as a thing and its shadow. For when does a berry break upon the tongue as sweetly as when one longs to taste it, and when is the taste refracted into so many hues and savors of ripeness and earth, and when do our senses know any thing so utterly as when we lack it? And here again is a foreshadowing — the world will be made whole. For to wish for a hand on one's hair is all but to feel it. So whatever we may lose, its very craving gives it back to us again. Though we dream and hardly know it, longing, like an angel, fosters us, smooths our hair, and brings us wild strawberries.

  • Spirituality is rooted in desire. We long for something we can neither name nor describe, but which is no less real because of our inability to capture it with words.

  • I was seized again with a desperate longing for the absolute.

  • We may say we're looking for love, following dreams, chasing the dollar, but aren't we just looking for a place where we belong? A place where our thoughts, feelings, and fears are understood?

  • That I can live long enough / To obtain one and only one desire — / That someday I can see again / The mulberry and catalpa trees of home.

    • Ts'ai Yen,
    • "Eighteen Verses Sung to a Tatar Reed Whistle" (c. 200 CE), in Joanna Bankier and Deirdre Lashgari, eds., Women Poets of the World ()
  • Never a ship sails out of the bay, / But carries my heart as a stowaway.

  • For our ruin or our salvation, the thing we long for with a great enough longing is always given us.

  • ... the most deeply moving element in the contemplation of beauty is the element of loss. We desire to hold; but the sunset melts into the night, and the secret of the painting on the wall can never be the secret of the buyer.

  • Longing performs all things.

  • Like billowing clouds. Like the incessant gurgle of the brook, / The longing of the spirit can never be stilled.

    • Hildegard of Bingen,
    • Scivias (1150), in Gabriele Uhlein, ed., Meditations With Hildegard of Bingen ()
  • It seems to me we can never give up longing and wishing while we are thoroughly alive. There are certain things we feel to be beautiful and good, and we must hunger after them.