Of late I have been wondering, in the substrata of my soul, about the purpose desire serves. Oh, I never think in neat words (hmmmm, I wonder what purpose desire serves....), but I guess what I mean to say is that my heart has been rumbling a lot lately, and this is the best way, in hindsight, that I can put that rumble into words.
Why, indeed, would a heart surrendered to God fittingly have seasons of longing, of finding no deep fulfillment, of wanting, of craving, of a nagging emptiness? Is not the One I adore enough to satisfy?
Well, yes, but there must be more than this... (as this song begins)
Our hearts intuit that we are made for the infinite. We intuit that there must be more, and so we are filled with longing.
I think longing becomes frightening and dangerous only when we have no faith, no hope. With faith and hope we know we are not only made for the infinite, but the Infinite reaches to us and draws us onward to Him, into His embrace. Even when we lose all sense of this truth, if we retain this truth with our minds, our memories, we can take another step forward and long in safety, because we know the cry of our hearts is not going to bounce out into an empty universe and merely echo back into our own ears and no other.
How do we long for something we already have? We can't.
Every desire is a desire for God. Not every desiring heart realizes it. God is always bigger than we are. That's sorta the definition of The Infinite. So those feelings of longing, of wanting, of craving, of dissatisfaction... what do we do with them? Let them drive us to what numbs us? Stuff them and try really hard to ignore them? Beat ourselves up over how surely holy people don't crave something else? Wallow around in some thing at hand that seems to come close to what we desire? Cry out with a passion we don't really understand?
Yes, that seems about it.
And today, I read this: "The entire life of a good Christian is in fact an exercise of holy desire. You do not yet see what you long for, but the very act of desiring prepares you, so that when he comes you may see and be utterly satisfied." St. Augustine.
Desire is fitting for this time in the liturgical year when we are heading toward Advent and desiring the Returning King. Desire now allows us to be fully satisfied when He who is our life appears to us. Both now, and in the final coming.
Desire is never something to be shut down, only brought into the light, purified, and intensified.