A philosophy of desire

One of the most popular songs of the 90’s was the song Iris by the Goo Goo Dolls. Iris comes off the band’s album Dizzy Up The Girl, but, most of us who were living during that time remember it off the soundtrack of City of Angels. Can I get a Hallelujah for Nic Cage and Meg Ryan? But, if you have ever taken time to listen to Iris, or how singer John Rzeznik described it, you hear a heartfelt song of our humanity, our brokenness, but, most importantly, our human desires.

While Iris is clearly a love song, it has some clear overtones. We as human beings have the desire to be desired. We as human beings want to be known as we are, but, we are afraid to be who we are, because we are afraid of the isolation that could happen. We feel like aliens in our lives. Nobody is like us, nobody feels like I feel, nobody sees things as I see them. We all have the desire to love. We all want to be known as we are, accepted as we are, embraced as we are, to be found loved as we are. We also desire to do the same for others. This is our hearts desire.

At some point in our lives we will all come to a place where we lost the appetite for desire. Have you ever met someone who has just been broken up with? Or, maybe, have you ever been around someone who has just had someone close to them die? In these instances, we watch the people in pain try to replace the person they just lost with someone new. The person that has been replaced is not there because they’re desired, but, simply to fill a void. They don’t desire the love or the affection of the new person. They want that person to fill the pain they feel because of the void of the love and affection they just lost from the person who they desire. When we lose our desire, we die to desire. That’s why it is so painful. We don’t know what to do with ourselves, and, how we should move on. As well, more or less, we don’t know what to desire.

I struggled with desire immensely as a teenager. Events in my life, shut down my ability to desire, which shut down my hearts ability to receive. For years, I felt absent with others. For years, I felt absent from this “present” God. I had been shut down. I struggled with severe depression, anger, anxiety and felt an overwhelming self and others hatred. One moment, shortly after I graduated and before I turned 18, I had a violent encounter with God. His love and tenderness reached out to my violent anger, accepted and started moving me forward slowly. What I know about desire is this; you cannot desire something until you’ve come upon an arrival with it. I desire those close to me, because, I know them. But, I don’t desire your mom, unless she looks like Katy Perry and wants to hang out, then I can birth one for her. The more I desire someone, the larger the space in my heart grows for them. This is why when we lose someone or something we desire, that pain is so immense. The larger the desire, the more capacity for pain. However, this is what it means to live out of the heart.

The human heart is capable of mass desire. Jesus understood this. He said, seek, knock, ask, and, you will find, the door will be opened, these things will be given to you. If I wanted to disprove God, all I would have to seek out enough to deny his existence. If, I wanted to find God, all I would have to do is seek enough to find his existence. What we desire intrinsically, will manifest itself extrinsically. And, what I desire extrinsically, will shape my intrinsic desire. What we desire objectively will affect our subjectivity. What we desire subjectively will affect our objectivity. This is kind of like our health. If I eat Taco Bell every meal, isn’t going to have a very nice output. But, it sure is nice every once in a while. We are capable of desiring almost any and everything. But, is it worth it for us?

Someday, I’ll get married. I could live my life-like Shallow Hal. Seeking a hot body, but, being left empty and alone. Or, I could search someone who has really tended to their heart and soul, and, left with being desired, loved and known. I could be like Good Will Hunting, choosing friends who will fight for me, but, don’t always have my best interest at heart. Or, I could find friends who want that. Friends who care about my desires, and, help me fulfill them.

Desires are a large part of our lives. We need to practice discernment in them. We need to understand ourselves, so we can understand what we are desiring. Because, what we truly seek, we will find.



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