I was asked an interesting question today. Actually, it wasn't really a question, it was a comment. More of an aside, really.
A friend and I were talking over lunch and somehow we got to the topic of that bit in the Gospels where Jesus was tempted by the devil (mentioned in Matthew and Luke). My friend said that there's no way he could have withstood those temptations, particularly the one where the Devil offers up the world to Jesus. He jokingly offered up a few things that the devil might have used on him - things he longs for but might never have - and said that if he were offered those things, he'd give in.
It was a funny moment at lunch but for me, there was a disturbing undercurrent to the conversation. Because as a way to continue the levity of the topic, I thought about offering up some things the devil might use on me that might get me to sell my own soul.
But I couldn't think of anything.
Not one thing.
And so I changed the subject.
Now before you think I'm trying to be all holy and cool by suggesting that I'm beyond temptation, that's not what I'm getting at at all. What I'm trying to say is that I couldn't think of anything that I wanted out of life - anything that I really desired, anything that the devil could dangle in front of me to entice me. And that worries me.
Sex? Nah, that comes with consequences and tons of emotional baggage.
Power? No way. With power comes responsibility and who wants that?
Money? Eh, that'd be nice but I'm a person of modest means. I don't like bling, I don't want to drive a fancy car, I don't want to wear fancy clothes (mostly because I have little fashion sense), I'm not even a huge fan of traveling and seeing the world (although I'd like to someday). I mean I am looking for a job so I can pay my bills and the rent but that would more or less be enough for me. If I could do that at a job that I didn't absolutely hate, I think there's not a whole lot more I'd want.
Money, sex, power - aren't those the things that entice most people? But, I don't know, I don't really want any of those things.
And I think that's a bit fucked up.
Because if I don't want anything then what am I doing here?
I suppose if pressed, I'd say that if I could be granted any personal wish in the world, I'd wish to write a book like Donald Miller's Blue Like Jazz or Anne Lamott's Traveling Mercies. That is to say, I'd like to write a book that brings Christianity back for people, making it real and vital and relevant once again. Because that's what those books did for me and that's something I'm truly grateful for.
And that makes me wonder as well.
What does it mean that some of the most important things in my life are books - those books in particular? Why isn't it the case that my friends or my family are most important to me? I mean, is it screwed up that a couple of books (inanimate objects) are what have made the most difference in my life?
I think this is another hint pointing me towards whatever awfulness Bob is about.
In my last post about Bob , I suggested that maybe Bob was that part of me that is still crying out for love - both to receive and to truly give love. And that's something that's bad enough, but what if it goes even deeper than that? What if I've lost all want and desire in my life?
Because if I'm not striving towards something that I want then what am I here for?
I wonder: If the devil has gotten me to the point where nothing he dangles in front of me allures anymore, what does that mean? Is that the coup de grace? Is his work done?
And then how do you get desire back once it's gone?
Maybe I should just go with the writing idea since it's all I have. Which is why I suppose I'm writing this post, which is why I write at all.
Truth be told, I do enjoy writing.
And I'm beginning to get the writing bug back again.
And that's a start.