Divine unrest. I’m not sure what it means if you want a strict definition. I do not know of it, but I know it, right now. It’s that feeling of anxiety and restlessness that equals joy. It’s that call from Beyond, so close to your ear that it tickles and irritates you. It’s like the feeling in your muscles when you’ve been sedentary for too long, the strange yearning for lactic acid and soreness. It’s that boredom that produces yearning that produces possibility that produces mystical rapture. It’s when Something needs to happen, but that need becomes a deep, almost romantic love for the Something.
God needs to happen. And waiting for Him summons Him, as Sartre’s thoughts of his friend as he waited for him anxiously in a cafe summoned his friend. Unlike Sartre, who brought the transcendent reality of his friend into the cafe by a process of nihilation, the thinking of God’s needs-to-happen-ness summons Him immanently. God cannot be a mere thought, a mere shadow. God IS, and if He exists in your soul even partially, He exists in it fully, as I AM WHO AM. The mere brushing with Divinity summons Divinity in all it’s glory, even if we are too unreal to be cogniscient of His Reality.
Sometimes Divinity sits around the corner, whispering our name. The heart pounds, the adrenaline rises, the pupils dilate. The heart cries out, and the heart knows that it was made to cry out, designed to have its blood pulse at such non-encounters and almost-encounters with the Heart of Hearts.
Divine unrest is that feeling of boredom, anxiousness, blandness, joylessness, and tepidity that comes from walking the heavenly race, speaking the heavenly song, sniffing the heavenly banquet, playing the heavenly battle, considering the heavenly YES, handshaking the heavenly embrace, and every other variety of colorless dilly-dallying and dabbling that characterize our spiritual lives. It is an emotion like a stagnant swamp. Yet, it is the most beautiful emotion in the universe.
Why? Divine unrest is the call to adventure. Imagine you are a self-content and affected prick with a huge smirk on your face. Your face begs to be punched, squarely. If someone actually punches you in the face, the natural reaction is to retaliate. However, if you are really aware of what happened, you will be grateful that the smirk has been safely (albeit painfully) removed from your face. Such is divine unrest.
Divine unrest. It is the opposite of Sartre’s vertigo. For Sartre, a man experiences ‘vertigo’ when he realizes that his freedom is completely unopposed and he can do absolutely anything. This realization makes him fear the ridiculous. He realizes he can easily stab himself with a knife or jump off a cliff or gamble or roll in the mud with pigs. When a man realizes his freedom and has no one or nothing in the universe to refer to with this freedom, he is overwhelmed with vertigo, anxiety, malaise, (call it what you will).
Divine unrest. It is the opposite of Sartre’s vertigo. With divine unrest, man realizes from the seat of his couch the radical freedom of freedom: that he can do absolutely anything. He begins to fall into the dizziness of existential vertigo, but a Voice calls him and stops his plummet. The sweet, still, quiet, small Voice bids him to act. All of a sudden, the couch he sits on becomes sickening. The room he thought he was trapped in becomes sickening. All his inaction becomes sickening. The whole world of failure becomes sickening. Then, uncalled for, an ecstasy of hope takes him. He can do ANYTHING! He can pray, dance, love, triumph, strive, rest, fight, eternally embrace! It is not a hope for the future, but a hope for the now.
For the postmodern man (man in dead society) there is nothing but unrest. For the post-Ressurection man (man in a Christian society) the unrest becomes Divine.
Some ‘divine unrest’-themed music: Sixpence None the Richer’s album “Divine Discontent.”