Desire: An Introduction
I walked through Central Park like a paperclip rubbing up on a magnet. There’s something of it that sticks to you, and then you’re imbued with it, a magnetism. I sparked in love in New York City. I watched a man blow huge bubbles, and then I helped him. I dipped rope on a stick into soapy water and then opened the rope to the breeze, film of rainbow caught in the air. I saw dogs wearing shoes. Four little impressive dog shoes on each foot. Hot sidewalk, man in linen pants, smooth looking, fingers-through-the-hair gorgeous, tight button-up shirt, but there was also a little accidental show of the belly right where it tucks in. This is a comedy. Life sieves in like a desirous hot wind, and then somebody is absolutely positive his belly button isn’t showing. But it is. The streets let off laughter like steam, and it must. Humanity can be such a joke.
A joke was on Broadway, a strung-out man breathing down a girl’s neck, the ffffffff in her ear. Her strong unflinching neck. Her heels clicking. Ck ck ck ck ck. The sound of walking through dirty air. I was drenched in street, walked 15 miles in a day, and finally zombied my way back to my room and stripped down to nothing. I am a magnet. Everything sticks to me. I am charged with art. But then I want to rip it off.
I had been like this for a while, not stirred up about much but dying for connection. I had lost my magnetism for life in a bold effort to not be the most vulnerable person in the room. Call it an eight-month vulnerability hangover after writing the book, and you haven’t even read it yet. I sat too long away from the dirtiness, afraid to be charged by the pain of it. Afraid of the beauty, too, yes? I think they call this numb.
Desire can be a terrifying thing, but I cannot write without it. It’s like vulnerability. You can’t be a connected person without it, but too often if I am consumed with something, it’s to lull me to sleep, to protect me from feeling, to keep me uncharged. I’m drunk on the things of this world, driven by desires I half don’t know exist. Whether toward sleep or toward a life so awake I can see the unseen, I’m always moved.
“Watch yourselves lest your hearts be weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and cares of this life” (Luke 21:34 ESV). I had to re-remember why I’m here. I had to pray for a passion.
Then He said to me, “You think you’ve been wild in the hollow? Here. You keep with me and really learn what it means to be wild.” I read the book aloud for an audio recording, and it cut me. I meant it when I wrote it, but I didn’t know all it meant, all the layers of surrender, all the ways He loves me, how intimate He is, how I learn the same lessons again and again of His love.
Once upon a time a bush caught fire but it didn’t burn down. It burned so hard that it spoke. All this is going to pass away, but the truth spoken in the fire will never pass away.
What do you desire? What are the things that roll around inside you? What has stuck to you?
Tell me what it is that pulls you in. What magnetizes you?
This is an introduction to desire. Wrestle it a bit. I wrestled and wrote Wild in the Hollow: On Chasing Desire and Finding the Broken Way Home, and I wrestle still. I can’t wait for you to read it. Let’s talk about desire with a little more trembling and a lot more honesty, joy, and freedom.
I’m ready to be the weak-strong with the church. Aren’t you?