On That Always Aching Wound

OH MY GOSH, I want him to stay little!” a little girl wails in a viral video that has been making its rounds this week. Sadie has just learned that her baby brother is going to grow up, and it’s too much to take in tranquility. The look of stunned injury on her face has garnered over 21 million views on youtube, and certainly some laughter, but I expect I’m not the only one who feels something else too: a sort of cold, sick loneliness, anyone? The unutterable tragedy that just when everything is exquisitely right, everything is emphatically wrong.

It’s not even funny,” said my sister. “Except that you have to laugh, or you’re going to cry.

Because somehow this hysterical sorrow isn’t ridiculous, isn’t misplaced. Somehow it’s just exactly what the situation calls for.

And I don’t want to die when I’m a hundre-e-e-e-e-e-ed,” Sadie sobs. It’s that kind of grief that can’t be fixed or forgotten. On the other side of it, something has been shattered forever.

Or has it?

In Reflections on the Psalms, C.S. Lewis has something to say about this, something that reads almost as if it was written for this exact drama – simply because this exact drama plays out in everyone, troubles all of us:

Fish Out of Water

Hence our hope finally to emerge, if not altogether from time (that might not suit our humanity) at any rate from the tyranny, the unilinear poverty, of time, to ride it not to be ridden by it, and so to cure that always aching wound which mere succession and mutability inflict on us, almost equally when we are happy and when we are unhappy. For we are so little reconciled with time that we are even astonished at it. “How he’s grown!” we exclaim, “How time flies!” as though the universal form of our experience were again and again a novelty. It is as strange as if a fish were repeatedly surprised at the wetness of water. And that would be strange indeed; unless of course the fish were destined to become, one day, a land animal.

In the bitterest book of the sixty-six, there’s this:

He has made everything appropriate in its time. He has also set eternity in their hearts.

So if I could say a few words to Sadie, I would say, Little Girl, never grow out of your deep discontentment. “Wrestle with the Not Yetness of things. With the good, broken, incompleteness of everything.

As my friend Sam also says, It is what it is. But it is not what it shall be.

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7 thoughts on “On That Always Aching Wound

    1. Aww, you two, I know, I know. :/

      Things are changing, but not necessarily for worse, you know? Who can say what is ahead, after all? Maybe a trip to Mexico 🙂

      Remember, while we’re stranded here in the war zone, the best is ALWAYS yet to be…

      1. Wow. What a thought. With two bros in the military, what a statement–“While we’re stranded in the war zone, the best is yet to be.”

        I am now adopting that as one of my favs. Because we ARE stranded in a war zone until this life is over; until we are relieved from duty, we have a mission to complete and sometimes it is a painful one. But the knowledge that Jesus Christ already won the victory makes the painful journey a joy.

        The best is truly yet to be! Thanks!

        1. Oops, it’s late and I totally filled in my log in info weird. I clicked it and it said I was a phishing website, but I’m not. 🙂 so I’m signing in properly now and going to sleep! 🙂

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