“In the torment of the insufficiency of everything attainable we eventually learn that here, in this life, all symphonies remain unfinished.”~Karl Rahner
In his wonderful book, Against An Infinite Horizon, Ron Rolheiser opens with this quote from Rahner. A failure to comprehend the truth behind this quote is to risk a life lost to reckless wandering: an unending and exhausting quest for the next person, place or possibility to satisfy the hunger in our soul. To understand this, however, is to be one who, at last, has come to realize that our desires are, as Rolheiser asserts, overcharged for this life.
C.S. Lewis, in Mere Christianity, suggests that we are a people of deep and unending desire. He further states that our unending quest for satisfaction reveals a deeper and often confounding truth about what it means to be human; what it means to be whole!
“If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world. If none of my earthly pleasures satisfy it, that does not prove that the universe is a fraud. Probably earthly pleasures were never meant to satisfy it, but only to arouse it, to suggest the real thing.”
Or, as J.R.R. Tolkien offered, “We all long for Eden, and we are constantly glimpsing it: our whole nature…is still soaked with the sense of exile.” Our whole nature is soaked with desire unfulfilled. Modern and ancient writers, poets, and artists have captured this sense of unending longing: the reality that all of our loves are made for Ultimate love! They have also captured the sense of despair accompanied by those moments when we settle for lesser loves in our quest for Ultimate love. This thread of love longed for and lost seems to weave its way through the fabric of human history.
As the Psalmist proclaims, In your presence is fullness of joy; In your right hand there are pleasures forever! All desire, in other words, ultimately points toward an Ultimate desire. The desire to rest in the fullness of the presence of the Divine. To forever be pleased in the pleasure He holds; to forever be pleased in the pleasure of Him.
In just a few days, our culture of consumption will exploit this God-given desire. The exploitation will begin with Black Friday, which now bleeds into Thanksgiving Day. It will likely reach its peak the week following Christmas Day. That’s the week we rush madly back to the purveyors of thin desires (i.e. retail stores) to exchange all we received in hopes of finding something better; something more.
Whatever item(s) we find. Whatever we deem better will never be enough. You and I are destined for greater!
Indeed, we are overcharged for this life. The discovery that I am overcharged for this life, or, as I would say, “that I am an ever firing furnace of desire” – has lead to several aha moments:
Aha ~ The presence of this ever firing furnace of desire is evidence of God’s image.
Aha ~ The presence of this ever firing furnace of desire foreshadows my desire for unending life with God (I crafted a poem entitled Heaven: Desire’s Ascendancy as a result of this aha. It is the fourth in a four progression poem that you can access here, http://theshapeofdesire.blogspot.com/2014/07/heaven-desires-ascendency-final.html
Aha ~ The presence of this ever firing furnace of desire burns others whom I seek to satisfy that which is satiated by God alone (this aha invites panoptic reflection and ongoing resolve).
Aha ~ The presence of this ever firing furnace of desire burns me when I turn inward on my emptiness and seek to satiate my hunger through harmful addictions and ‘isms’ (pornography, work-a-holism, alcoholism, etc.).
As I head into this holiday season, I think I will ask myself, “What is fueling my ever firing furnace of desire?“ And, “Toward what end are my desires directed?”
Disrupting to Renew!