We always want what we haven't got

24 Aug

It broke my heart today to read this – a friend’s bitterness about being denied her dreams via circumstances of birth.

But isn’t that the human condition? To always want what’s unattainable or just beyond our grasp?

What can you say to the death of dreams? To longing for something so easily obtainable, it seems, to everyone else but you?

One friend dreams of living in distant shores; another dreams of a husband and children of her own. One wants citizenship at the country of her birth and another, the affections of a girl he’s been longing for all through university. Another of getting a scholarship to do his Masters overseas.

Longing, want, desire can be powerful things. And oh, the pain of having them thwarted.

Disappointment, grief, pangs.

The Polyannas would just counsel us to ‘like what we’ve got’ and be happy!

It’s not that simple.

I’ve got no answers. Only experience. It can be heartbreaking to want something so much and yet it seems so unattainable.

Like tonight, watching a friend play piano at a concert. Growing up, I’d envied the friends whose parents could afford them lessons. It was hard enough feeding us all, luxuries like pianos could never come into the picture. I’d harboured secret dreams of maybe one day buying one and finding the time to learn.

And it struck me tonight that it would take more time than I had. It would take years before I’d be proficient enough to accompany myself to songs I liked. And there were so many other things I wanted more than to learn to tickle the ivories. There were things I already could do well, and could do better.

There just isn’t room in my life for a piano. But there is room to sing, to write, to laugh, to learn.

I hope that my friends’ thwarted desires will be replaced by other things. That perhaps they’ll find some silver lining, some comfort in the darkness to ease the hurt of disappointment. 

I believe that sometimes God doesn’t give us what we want because it isn’t what we need. Or it isn’t the time yet, impatient little creatures that we are, demanding we get things because we want them, dammit.

There is a plan, a way for us to forge through the wilderness.

Now, if only God would let us in on the plan.

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One Response to “We always want what we haven't got”

  1. Catalina August 24, 2008 at 8:43 pm #

    “I believe that sometimes God doesn’t give us what we want because it isn’t what we need. Or it isn’t the time yet, impatient little creatures that we are, demanding we get things because we want them, dammit.”
    Thank you for that reminder. The truth is, I’m going a little bit of personal problems on my part and the post was a culmination of a lot of things.
    There’s a very thin line between serenity and complacency. I hope I get to learn which is which.

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