Hunger or thirst?

Since publishing Conversations with the Moon, I have been asked frequently what I am going to write next. I have no idea. Literally, I am without ideas. No ideas for blog posts, no ideas for new books, nothing. It’s a good thing I’m in a statistics course right now because I probably would not have any ideas for research papers, either.

I got to thinking this week about writing, though. On Thursday, which was a snow day for the girls, we went to see Little Women. It was the second time we had watched it in the theater. The first time was Christmas day, and I remember thinking a lot about my own book and admiring Jo’s passion throughout the film. This second time felt much like the first, but it inspired a deep longing within me. A longing for adventure. A longing for something deep and real. A longing to write.

As I walked through the hospital this evening, I thought about that longing. I started to describe it mentally as a hunger, and then I wondered if it was a thirst. I realized I really wasn’t sure about the difference between the two, so I looked them up. My Dictionary app describes them each as strong desires or cravings. The difference between them is that one carries a positive connotation and the other a negative. While “thirst” is defined as an eager desire, “hunger” is defined as a painful sensation. So the question is, is my longing to write more eager or painful?

My suspicion is that it is frequently difficult to distinguish an eager desire from a painful one. Right now, a family sits in the waiting room and longs for news from their loved one’s surgery. Is their longing eager or painful? A mother fights through the pangs of labor, longing for that child to be healthy and for labor to be over. Are her longings eager or painful? Most of the patients here long to be better and leave the hospital. Are those longings eager or painful?

Jesus said in John 6:35, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.” Now I may be taking liberties, but I don’t think Jesus actually meant we would never again have a longing. I think what he meant was that He would satisfy the deep longings we feel. He will satisfy our desire. The painful longing for something more, the eager desire to feel fulfilled.

Maybe my longing to write isn’t just about my need to put pen to paper and produce words. Maybe my longing is really for something more. Something I cannot bring about on my own.