I subscribe to a fairly entertaining marketing blog (it’s called Remarkable Communication, if you’re interested). Every once in awhile, the author, Sonia, makes a point that goes beyond marketing & business, and says something real about human nature. This was one of those times:
“There are real problems (my back is killing me, my job is killing me, my kids are killing me) and then there are the problems we manufacture because we want something (not having an iPhone is killing me, not going to Paris is killing me, not having that triple bacon cheeseburger is killing me).Desire can be a stronger force than need. When the death camps were liberated at the end of World War II, rescued women prisoners craved lipstick even more than they craved food or safety. The thing they wanted most was to feel human again. Was that a need or a desire?
You could make the case that desire is what makes us people and not just really clever monkeys. Desire is a longing for something greater than need. Desire is a quest for something that may not even exist yet. Art and music and beauty and truth are about desire.”
It reminds me of some of the writings of C.S. Lewis and John Eldredge about desire, beauty, joy and glory. In looking for a quote from Lewis to go along with this, I came across a great article on Wikipedia about the concept of Sehnsucht.
If you’re anything like me, this idea of a longing for something that you can’t quite put your finger on is important in your life. I have always been the kind of person to seek out, or at least keep my eyes and heart open for those sorts of experience that hint at the greater Joy. Tolkien coined a word, “eucatastrophe” to describe this concept in literature, the “peculiar quality of the ‘joy’ in successful fantasy (which) can be explained as a sudden glimpse of the underlying reality or truth.” J.R.R. Tolkien, Lang Lecture on Fairy Tales
And if you’re interested in the idea, and you haven’t read anything by Lewis or Eldredge, you should do so as soon as possible. Mere Christianity or Surprised by Joy by C.S. Lewis are a good place to start. And Sacred Romance or The Journey of Desire by John Eldredge are good places to begin with his work.