“In the torment of the insufficiency of everything attainable we come to understand that here, in this life, all symphonies remain unfinished.” Karl Rahner wrote these words and Ronald Rolheiser suggests that to not understand them is to risk letting restlessness become a cancer in our lives.

What does it mean to be tormented by the insufficiency of everything attainable? I’ve been pondering that today as I continue to pack up my office in preparation for a move next month. I purchased boxes for the move in two different sizes – one for my books and the other for larger items. For the first several hours of packing, these two sizes worked beautifully. Now what remains of my office fits neither in the larger or smaller box. Now all I can do is wait for the movers to take the rest. It occurs to me that there is a life-lesson in this.

We are tormented by the insufficiency of everything attainable when we whittle down our life’s goals, dreams and aspirations into life-boxes far too small. We do this in the hopes something miraculous will happen or someone will come along and change our lives into what we’ve always dreamed they would be. Moving beyond begins with the understanding that here, in this life, all symphonies remain unfinished. Scripture says that all of creation awaits restoration. We are tormented not because we are too greedy to be satisfied by this life but because we’ve been created to experience so much more.

As Ronald Rolheiser writes in Against an Infinite Horizon, “We are Grand Canyons without a bottom. Nothing short of union with all that is can ever fill in that void. To be tormented by restlessness is to be human.” Only when we fully grasped the truth of those words will we stop demanding that life, our spouse, our friends, our jobs and even our church give us something they cannot give – the finished symphony!