If we live out of desire, we become animals. If we cut off our desire we become eunuchs.
It’s no wonder desire’s metaphor is often fire. Desire is dangerous. Desire can consume. But imagine a world without fire. Fire within boundaries illuminates, warms, comforts, inspires. Fire completely changes the landscape.
I think it’s interesting that one of the ways god describes himself is Consuming Fire. Not comforting fire, or warming fire, or happy fire: Consuming. A Consuming Fire.
I also happen to think one of the infinite facets of god is desire.
Desire and Holiness are two sides of the same coin. They are the blue flame.
I believe god hides desire in us in the most unsuspecting places. Of course, we form attachments in the deep and allow creatures safe passage without even realizing it. Of course, the deeper we push down the darkness, the stronger it becomes. Of course we’re terrified of our desires. What if they’re bad? What if I’m bad? What if I’ll do bad things?
The child within asks these questions.
The child is unable to live with a complex god and must simplify his or her understanding of desire into kindergarten concepts like “bad.”
As we grow, if we taste freedom, we learn to follow the wind, the spirit, the goodness of god.
As we follow him, he leads us into places once forbidden. He leads us into the forbidden to discover where we place our hope. If we deny him the journey, if we will not give ourselves safe passage through the dark, we deny himself and ourselves access.
And the death of life begins.
Why does a happily married woman of twenty years give a stranger in a bar her number? Because she wants to be seen. She wants to be known in new, perhaps exciting, ways.
We hear their stories, and see their destruction and shake our head out of our own inability to understand. Those who have killed their desire can’t know.
I’m young in my ability to navigate desire. I lived a long existence of self-protection. Self-protection suffocates desire, especially if I’m relying on myself to uphold certain standards: one, for example, faithfulness to my family.
How can I remain true to my commitments and true to my heart?
Well…how’s this for a thought? What if my heart, although a part of my life is not the best filter for what I desire? What if an emotion and a desire are misfiring and sending me inaccurate information? What if we’re too quick to shut down a desire when all we’re supposed to do is explore, not commit to an action? I think often something significant is just past the place where we notice the desire. We need to keep going past the desire and see what’s behind it.
I think the landscape of our heart is wilderness. It’s beautiful. It’s wild. It resonates with our favorite places and our favorite stories. It’s the eternal set where we’re the hero & the beauty.
And we get to explore there.
We’ll absolutely find places long-forgotten, buried rubble from our past that aren’t going away. In fact, the toxins from those train wrecks are still oozing into the soil.
We need friends who are experts in debris removal. We need friends who have looked honestly at their own train wrecks and so have the stomach for disaster, pain, betrayal. They are no longer horrified by the brutality of humanity. They love us. They believe in the possibility of Rescue and True Goodness.
We also need friends who hold our hands as we navigate risky desire. It helps to know who we are and what we’re doing here. It brings a small sense of comfort, like a tether cord as we explore.
If we believe we’re sick and lost and the reason this isn’t working, we can’t explore with confidence. It seems that under each rock is more evidence of our hopelessness & inability.
But if we travel with a wilderness guide, and we can scrape up enough gumption, we will silence the dictator that attempts to provide a shortcut to “goodness” (fake life) but instead leads to death.
For goodness provided by our own hands is sand.
True Goodness can only be received from something Truly Good.
Oh! How we Mislabel Life!
How we mislabel ourselves!
How we mislabel one another!
In the wilderness we unlearn and relearn how to explore and discover and uncover and Breathe. The space may feel uncomfortable, but it’s Open.
And we learn the most valuable of lessons: how to follow our Guide all the way THROUGH desire.
Desire was buried in us to lead us places we’d never go without a little nudge.
If our brain is allowed to call the shots, we might never find the buried treasure.
Desire speaks directly to the heart.
Desire can lead us into some tragic places, but it’s meant to lead us through. Don’t be afraid of it.
Allow Him to protect you. Ask Him to protect you. Hold his hand, face the desire, and keep going. Don’t stop there. “Why?” “What does I want here?” “What is She communicating to my heart?” “What is He awakening in me?” “What’s under this?!” and “What’s sticking out behind that over there?”
Self-Protection builds walls of suffocation that grow smaller and smaller and smaller with time and each failure. The smaller the space grows, the stronger the pressure. The desire is pushing on those walls with increasing force.
But Trust in a Protector builds confidence and guts and a capacity for brutal honesty. We are not okay but we are not alone.
Desire is not the problem. We are.