Desire is a tricky thing.
To desire feels dangerous because we might not get what we want (and disappointment seems worse than settling).
To desire is risky because, when expressed, is too much for the people in our world (and we wouldn’t want that).
To desire reveals the dulled desires of those in our midst (and how dare we make them look?!)
To desire means that we see ourselves of worth (which has trouble written all over it).
To desire means that we can foresee a future that is better than what we have now (which breeds dissatisfaction).
To desire means that we are deserving of that which we seek and demand. (What?!?)
Some even say:
- To desire is entitled or arrogant.
- To desire is privileged or elitist.
- To desire is assumptive and arrogant.
- To desire is to be ungrateful for all that we have; to somehow be demanding of even more.
I completely disagree.
Yes, of course, there are extremes to any emotion – places we can go that move what might have been genuine and “true” to twisty and dark. But trust me, that is NOT the risk we face.
The biggest risk is not our desire itself, but that we do not desire enough!
We are far too easily pleased. And we are far too easily convinced that since our desires will never come to be anyway, we’re better off hedging our bets, playing it safe, and toning things down. Sound familiar?
Here’s the thing: the heart, when listened to and trusted, will have none of this! Nor should you.
One of the many ancient, sacred stories I so love tells of a woman’s desire. And surprise! It’s not Eve (though hers does, as well, of course)! This woman was so determined in her expression and sustenance of her own longing, that a priest who saw her praying was convinced she was drunk. This hardly stopped her. She boldly and blatantly persisted. She held on. And ultimately her desire was fulfilled – over and over again. None of this was easy for her and she did it anyway. Instead of desire’s diffculty slowing or stopping her, it (and she) continued to grow in power and force until she could not, would not be denied.
Time out: Lest you think I am saying that if you just desire enough, your every desire will be met, think again. (That would be a lovely formula, wouldn’t it?) What I am saying is this: Her desire remained intact without its fulfillment. And it is THIS to which she calls us.
It is to this that she calls you. Longing even more instead of letting go. Persevering instead of settling. Fanning desire’s ame instead of dousing it. Holding on no matter what.
Desire for desire’s sake is what matters most.
Listen to her voice (as I imagine it) on your behalf:
Oh, the beauty of your desire! The stronger and fiercer and more tightly held, heaven rejoices and earth stands still in reverential awe. Know this: the object of your desire is not as important as having and holding on to desire in the first place. Desire for
desire’s sake is what matters most. The act and art of desiring causes your body temperature to rise, your pulse to quicken, your heart to beat, your life-force to surge, your voice to swell, and your very presence to make a visceral, unmistakable and impossible-to-ignore mark on this world.
Believe me, I know all about this. I am Hannah, and YOU are my daughter, my lineage, my kin.
Believe me: I know all-too-well the temptation to tone down my desire. But that has not served me – ever. Nor does it you. Hannah’s story reminds us that perseverance makes a difference, that faith matters, that hope must endure, and that desire – whether fulfilled or not – is a force to be reckoned with, is what makes us a force to be reckoned with.
So go ahead: want more, pray more, long for more, desire more. Less is, well, just less. And that is not to be your fate. Desire more not because you’re greedy or grabby or dissatisfied, but because you are vibrant and hungry and passionate!
This is desire’s destiny: eyes open, wide awake, in living color, alive!