****I was feeling inspired after my listing last week... So I'm going to do a series on gratitude as we get closer to Easter. For those who desire to participate with lists of your own, please let me read them! The most consistent and awesome list writer will get a chance to issue a blogger dare for me, wherein I will choose a dare given by a reader and will blog about the outcome.****
I'm convinced that there is a transformational power to thanksgiving; that when we give thanks, we are changing ourselves. In order to give sincere thanks, I think I need to understand more about worship, and more about desire. For we often (misguidedly) worship that which we (perhaps ill-advisedly) desire. As N.T. Wright said in Simply Christian: Why Christianity Makes Sense, “you become like what you worship. When you gaze in awe, admiration, and wonder at something or someone, you begin to take on something of the character of the object of your worship.” Based on my first list, some may say I'm due to turn into a coffee bean any day now. I contend that I may very well turn into an iPhone.
I'm very aware of the possibility that to the non-religious reader, the term 'worship' may seem foreign, or just plain freaky. As the Oxford Dictionary puts it, worship is simply this: "adoration or devotion comparable to religious homage, shown toward a person or principle." In junior high, I worshiped Taylor Hanson. In college, I worshiped a treadmill. In recent years, I became aware of my tendency to worship financial "independence", my iPhone, Facebook, and anything that could take my mind off of my own faint lack of satisfaction. The Rolling Stones called it... (We Can't Get No) Satisfaction. Just look around you the next time you're in public. Watch the groups of people wander together in vague clusters like a school of fish, all on their smart phones, detached from their surroundings, physically together but worlds apart as they grasp through the realms of cyberspace to be ANYWHERE but where they are, interacting with ANYONE but those they are actually with. I am guilty of this! Who are we talking to??? Where are we trying to be? At one point, I had to ask myself if there was anyone whose presence would warrant putting down my phone; would I put off checking and rechecking my Facebook and Instagram and email and text messages long enough to be a human?
The Desire to Acquire. I don't need to tell any of you that acquisition isn't solely concerned with things; we all desire to acquire a feeling, a person, a thing, a status... friend requests, twitter followers, shamrock shakes (which I'm drinking now, and its overrated). We are the fattest country on the planet, and we also have the most eating disorders. Talk about warped, abused, misplaced desire. Something is wrong. We are inundated with imagery and advertising designed to make us want what we don't have, be it a boyfriend, a cigarette, a slimmer waistline, a 7 figure salary as an invisible shopper, a tan, a condo, a new(er) car, fewer wrinkles, more "likes" on our profile pictures...
Desire is not the problem. Our hearts are the problem, and a sick, aimless heart will never be satisfied. But the end of desire is not the goal- I am not a Buddhist. I believe we were invited to desire at the dawn of creation. Designed to love and invited to desire; for what is love without desire? It's like eating food with no appetite. It is a life of meandering, beige, non-fat, passionless boredom.
"Love is an irresistible desire to be irresistibly desired." -Robert Frost
So for Day 1 of 15... I am grateful for desire. The world's most beautiful works of art were produced by men and women who desired. I like to think of desire as adventure and creation at their most embryonic. The interior drive to flesh out the glorious unseen is that which causes us to invent and create, to risk and to sacrifice ourselves, and our time, for someone, or something that we are irrevocably convinced we cannot and should not be without.
"Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but desire fulfilled is a tree of life." -Proverbs 13:12