Its hard not to walk by people, even in passing and hear constant conversations about desire. You hear guys say things like “I just need to get laid.” Or, you hear smokers say “I just need one more cigarette, and, then I can quit.” In movies like Requiem For A Dream you have the older mother who says stuff along the lines of “Once I lose the weight, then they’ll love me.” Its this never ending search isn’t it? Even the American Dream is built upon this: 1. Go to College 2. Meet spouse in College 3. Get Job 4. Get Married 5. Buy a house 6. Have Kids….. Life seems slightly beyond reach doesn’t it? If we only had X, then life would be more complete.
When I think of the fundamental human condition, I believe we’re all really in search of a few things: 1. To love and to be loved 2. To know and to be known 3. To long and to belong. These are the things that make us most alive. We find our identity in the grasps of relationships like these. Ones where we are intimately loved, known and longed for, but, also when we reciprocate this back. I like to think that suffering is what happens when our human needs are not being met. Mother Teresa famously said “Loneliness and the feeling of being unwanted is the most terrible poverty.”
One of the building blocks of Christian thought was written by St. Augustine. Augustine wrote in a book called the Confessions “Thou hast made us for thyself, O Lord, and our hearts are restless until they find their rest in thee.” Augustine also goes on to talk about the answer that we really need is a desire beyond limits, or, a desire beyond desire.
I have come to believe that desire, all desires, are meant to direct us to God. The desire to love and be loved. The desire to know and be known. The desire to long and belong, all exist because they were birthed in us by God. All experiences are meant to direct us towards God. This is the importance of incarnation. That God works through human beings to direct you through him. People do not love us, God loves us through other people. If God is love, then that other person is intimately connected to the life source within them, and, are able to give it away to others as a gift from God within them, to you. This is the importance of community and relationships. It is the way God will speak intimately to us through the other individual, to gravitate us towards him, so we may give it back to others.
Yet, there are perverse desires. We see this every day. Watch the news and it is inevitable. However, I like to believe that even these desires, are the desires of God, but masqueraded in sin (or in some cases mental insanity). Things like murder and war are often a plea for the injustice that has been done unto them. Parker Palmer said that “violence happens when we no longer know what to do with our suffering.” When sin blurs our desires, they begin acting out in perverse and broken ways, which lead us to breaking others and ourselves even more so. When we are looking at the desire beyond the desire, we find that what we are truly looking for is something that innately instilled within all of us (Jer. 31:33). We all have desires for justice, peace and love.
If we trust the Biblical story, then what begins in God, will always end in God. The world was made in perfect unity and peace and will end in perfect unity and peace when God reestablishes his thrown back on earth. When we understand our breathing. Our breathing takes the same sound as God’s holy name Yahweh. We begin our lives saying God’s name. We end our lives saying God’s name. This is our desire to be reconciled to this well spring of life. That what once was, will once again be.
Every moment of our lives is to cure this restless heart. To find that place of peace and unity. We must begin to understand, that everything we desire is God. Even in our relationships, what we long for is to encounter that something that is beyond us to connects us to God. When we can understand that it is not me, but, God who abounds in me, then we can understand that it is not them, but, God who abounds in them. We can be deeply connected with the creation and be astonished by the stars, the rain and ultimately connected with our Creator. This is the cure. The connection of God through him, through others and through ourselves.