Monday, October 13, 2003

I already finished reading the book The Journey of Desire: Searching for the Life We Only Dreamed of by my new fave author John Eldredge last week and I only got to review the stuff now. The book discusses the tragedy of believers losing sight of what they really want due to failures and disappointments. The purpose of the word "want" here surpasses that of the meaning of the (more conservative) word "need." The author invites the Christian reader to dig deeper than he/she has ever dug before, to go back to the olden days and try to recall what it was they wanted most of all before all the disappointments, frustrations, and hurts got in the way.
And oh, how we yearn for another shot at it. Flip with me for a moment through the photo album of your heart, and collect a few of your most treasured memories. Recall a time in your life when you felt really special, a time when you knew you were loved. The day you got engaged perhaps. Or a childhood Christmas. Maybe a time with your grandparents. I remember one birthday in particular. My wife planned a surprise party and kept it a perfect secret. All day long, I thought everyone had forgotten me; I was thoroughly depressed. I have a hard time with birthdays anyway--the longings they rouse. I had a pretty much killed my desire for something special by evening when we went to dinner at one of our favorite restaurants. There were all my friends. I was stunned, humbled, delighted all at once. It was a wonderful evening of laughter and conversation--for me, to celebrate me. A simple event, but I recall the feelings I had even still.

The second part of the book deals with waiting and never compromising those dreams and wants for shiny baubles (like Jack's magic beans). The author likes to call these "impostors":
I've had a nagging sense I was m ore pleasure-oriented than might be good, but I didn't see the function of pleasure in my life until I had to face intense grief and loss. I tried every drug I could, and nothing worked. No t food. Not sleep. Not work. Not reading. Not even sex. I could not get away from the pain. And then it occurred to me: If I am trying to use pleasure as a drug in this case, how many of my so-called enjoyments are merely the same thing on a lesser scale? Reading Pascal, I found he'd already hit upon the same thing. Unable to get out of the dilemma of desire, we've found a powerful drug--distraction.

Like all created things it's original all good and the problem comes in when we let our desires get the best of us and settling for something way too early or we misdirect our yearnings to something lesser rather than something lofty. This is often brought about by laziness, our view blocked by various disappointments, or pride. This book is really something else, it really changed my life and my outlook on what my real priorities should be. Thirsting or hankering is not in itself bad, just as long as it leads you to that Someone who could fulfill it for you.

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