Beauty, love and shampoo

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The goal of all marketing is the reduction of a big desire to a small desire. In other words, you long for beauty, love, friendship, wisdom, and it is the job of the marketer to convince you that the way you will achieve these desires is to purchase a certain brand of shampoo.

–Kimberly Shankman

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Dreams of blessedness

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Like Adam, we have all lost Paradise; and yet we carry Paradise around inside of us in the form of a longing for, almost a memory of, a blessedness that is no more, or the dream of a blessedness that may someday be again.

―Frederick Buechner 
The Magnificent Defeat

A matter of faith

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If belief rests on a longing, it could be argued that faith in God reflects nothing more than our longing that there should be a God. Yet it could be argued that a belief that there is no God rests on exactly the same basis — a hope and desire that it is, in fact, the case.

Atheism is as much a matter
of faith as Christianity.

As Boris Pasternak, the author of Dr. Zhivago, once remarked: “I am an athiest who has lost his faith.” Might not atheism’s basic assumptions rest on a longing for total autonomy, not having to give account to anyone, and not being limited by anything?

–Alister McGrath
The Unknown God
(emphasis added)

This is not heaven

For now we see in a mirror dimly,
but then face to face;
now I know in part,
but then I shall know fully
just as I also have been fully known.
(1 Cor. 13:12)

God wants us to know right up front that this is not heaven on earth. He knows me intimately, and He also knows that I don’t know Him in the same way.

Sometimes we can fatigue ourselves greatly
in a never-ending quest to feel
closer and closer to God.

We feel second-rate, because our knowledge of God is so imperfect. Of course we are right in one sense; none of us knows our Creator the way we should, the way we long to. But the true fulfillment of those desires awaits another age. To know that my present dim apprehension of God is only to be expected is incredibly comforting. I am eager for more, but I don’t have to thrash myself with guilt for not knowing God better.

The important thing now is not that I know God,
but that He knows me.

One day He will lift the veil totally and irrevocably in a way that all my spiritual strivings never could.

–Ron Julian
(emphasis added)

Rumors of paradise

These things—the beauty, the memory of our own past—are good images of what we really desire; but if they are mistaken for the thing itself they turn into dumb idols, breaking the heart of their worshippers.  For they are not the thing itself; they are only the scent of a flower we have not found, the echo of a tune we have not heard, news from a country we have never yet visited.

–C. S. Lewis

The Sacred Romance

Someone or something has romanced us from the beginning with creek-side singers and pastel sunsets, with the austere majesty of snow capped mountains and the poignant flames of autumn colors telling us of something – or someone – leaving with a promise to return. These things can, in an unguarded moment, bring us to our knees with longing for this something or someone who is lost; someone or something only our hearts recognizes.

–John Eldredge

The scent of Things Unseen

The world, beautiful as it is, is not enough. The beauty itself doesn’t satisfy. It promises satisfaction mirage-like, it can’t provide. Yet the beauty is a mimetic clue, both echo and foretaste, of Things Unseen, an enigmatic hint of Elsewhere which we puzzle over but rarely decipher. He has set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done. He is everywhere baiting us, prodding, luring us.

He is playing hide-and-seek with heaven and earth,
strewing clues all around, brushing the common-place
with the scent of Things Unseen.

–Mark Buchanan

Reminders of Eden

Beauty is transcendent. It is our most immediate experience of the eternal. Think of what it’s like to behold a gorgeous sunset or the ocean at dawn. Remember the ending of a great story. We yearn to linger, to experience it all our days. Sometimes the beauty is so deep it pierces us with longing. For what? For life as it was meant to be.

Beauty reminds us of an Eden
we have never known, but somehow
our hearts were created for.

–Stasi Eldredge

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