The Wanderer

The leaves of the Poplar trees are turning yellow; a hint that soon the hillsides will be filled with color. This coming of fall energizes, readies my eyes to see it all—fills my spirit with the expectation of beauty.  
My mind begins to wander. I am ever more aware of this longing…this emptiness…this sehnsucht. 
This “God-shaped hole” as I once read C.S. Lewis term it. He was not the first. Pascal and Augustine spoke of this longing in our souls–nothing of this world will fill. 
A German word with limited translation. My dictionary simply defines it: yearning.
But it is, oh, so much more, is it not?
When I walk outside and look up at the sky on a starlit autumn night, this sehnsucht soars. I feel His presence. I feel His absence. The abstract of Him, the real-ness…He is there all around me, but I cannot grasp Him.
This—yes, this yearning–consumes me.
And it is a beautiful thing.
I seek, and seek, and seek. Knowing full well that this completion has not reached its appointed time. And so I wait. Looking for, and finding, Him in everything.
Fall awakens these sleeping hungers. Something about the crispness of the air, the vivid colors of the season…I see more clearly.
Lewis felt it too.
In a 1949 letter to Warfield Firor, an American admirer, Lewis describes the autumn as paradisal, the sort of weather which for some reason excites me much more than spring: cool, cobwebby mornings developing into the mildest sunlight, and exquisite colours in the woods. It always gives me Wanderlust & ‘divine discontent’ and all that. 
Wanderlust. Divine discontent.
Yes. That is what I feel.
So I must wander. Just a little bit.
Stay tuned…


  1. says

    I love Lewis, and I love the imagery and words you used here. Now I know what to call it…

    And while “wanderlust” is easier to articulate there’s something about “sehnsuht” that packs a punch.

    With you friend, in autumn and all seasons, but would particularly enjoy a walk with you under the splendor of fall’s embrace.

    peace to you in your weekend…


  2. says

    Your beautifully written post brought me a total sense of ‘sehnsuht’…

    I love this time of year. I even had to move so that I could have it again, every year.

    As I read your post, a song by Chris Rice – My Cathedral – immediately entered my mind. Forgive me for posting the lyrics here, but it is just that good! Don’t miss the part about the stained-glass leaves….

    My Cathedral by Chris Rice

    Sweetest days of childhood
    Playing in the deep woods
    Stomping through the creek and feeling oh so much alive
    Camping in the forest
    We’d join the cricket chorus
    And hum our songs of gratitude around a crackling fire
    And out here in the stillness
    I found my house of worship
    With column trees and canopy of stars
    Here in my cathedral

    It was beneath the blue skies
    I ran down to be baptized
    Felt the river wash me clean, and dried beneath the sun
    And to this day believing
    When wide awake, or dreaming
    I scan the ancient sky and understand where I belong
    ‘Cause out here in the stillness
    I find my house of worship
    With column trees and canopy of stars
    Here in my cathedral

    This is where I find my soul
    Out where holy men of old
    First knelt in soil and thanked You for the rain
    Wrote the psalms that fill the air
    Herald angels sang their prayer
    Out beneath Your darling constellations

    So let me often wander
    In robin songs and thunder
    Surrounding me with stained-glass leaves that change with every breeze
    And out here in the stillness
    I’ll find my house of worship
    With column trees and canopy of stars

  3. says

    I feel like a smarter person after reading that post. You have quite the way with words, Laura! I’m adding you to my bloglist. I need the beauty of your words to add beauty to my life right now! Thank you!

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