"Love! Do you know the meaning of the word?" 'How should I not?' said the Lady, 'I am in love...in Love Himself.'
~C.S. Lewis
The Great Divorce

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Detachment, Desire, and Death

My wife and I had a rather long talk with one of our sons about sharing last night. His attachment to certain toys and unwillingness to let others play with them brought this about. Easily, I could write an entire post criticizing him for this and list all of the things we taught him to help other parents struggling with the same thing. It's easy, however, to point out a stingy child and make him an example. What's a little more difficult is looking inward and seeing where you are either stingy or too attached. God is gracious to his children. When we are too attached to things other than him, he reminds us. On the surface, these reminders may seem like punishments. A piece of technology we love, breaks. The money we were saving (perhaps hoarding) has to be used for a car repair or medical bill. We may view these as chance events or as God exacting revenge on us, but ultimately I think God uses events like these to detach us from things that keep us from him. He does it because he loves us and wants us to love him. It's only when we have been torn away from the things in this life that we love, that our soul's desire can be properly focused. Insofar as things can die, death needs to take place in order for the true fulfillment of desire to happen. Today, I was thinking about my own earthly attachments. If I may be so bold, there are few things I'm overly attached to. My computer might be one (which, I suppose, makes this post supremely ironic). But really more than any thing, I'm attached to people. Specifically, I'm attached to my family and a few very close friends. I long for the time I get to spend with these people. I can't wait for the weekends when I actually see my wife, or my parents. Family and friends are wonderful blessings and I think attachment to them is of a different nature than that of material objects. But they can still keep us from God if we are more attached to them than the One who gave them to us. As I said above, God is gracious to his children. Sometimes death occurs in our families. Ones we love are taken from this earth. We grieve. Not as those who have no hope, but still we grieve. Yet, this can be a time to draw closer to the Lord. All believers will meet again in the Kingdom of Heaven. But we must get there first. This is the beautiful thing about proper priorities. If we put Jesus before everything, we get him and all the other riches of this life in the end. If we prefer even the smallest of trifles to Him, nothing, in the end, is ours. What is the point of all this? Attachment to anything other than God will not fulfill any of our desires. Our inordinate desires, our attachments, have to be crucified and our souls rightly focused on him who alone can satisfy. Death then leads to life. Sometimes this means something as simple as sharing what is ours (for it is truly only in the act of sharing that anything is ours) or it could be the cessation of breath in a human being we treasured. As painful as loss can be, it may be the removal of an obstacle to heaven.