“The people say that the two seemed to be removed from human experience; that they had gone through pain and had come out on the other side.”

–John Steinbeck

The Pearl

Desire is an important element of human life.

In the Church, and in many religious traditions, desire is often seen as an enemy, something to be conquered, surrendered, sacrificed.

John Steinbeck understood the power of desire, and how it leads us – into danger if we aren’t aware of its pull; back to the center once we have learned from it.

For Kino and Juana, the couple who find a tremendous pearl, one of almost immeasurable value, the journey through desire refined them. They suffered great loss only to be transformed into recognizing what value actually means.

Desire is good. It is how we pursue the desire that twists and distorts it. When we are ruled by our desires we fall into sin. When we align our desires according to our identity and values, desire can guide us to the center of our purpose.

Alignment begins with paying attention. How are we living – in reaction, or with intention?

Have I defined my values?

Am I aligning my behavior, my time, my resources with those values?

What desires are driving my actions? My motivations?

We must learn to live in alignment, and not in service to our desires. When we do, we begin to see that the life we’ve always wanted is not only possible, but within reach.

The Pearl was written by John Steinbeck, and published in 1947 in “Women’s Home Companion.” It is a re-imagining of a Mexican folk tale. Image from penguin.co.uk