If I had what I wished for
I’d wish for a world without pain
No heart-ache, no sorrow
All sunshine – no rain.
Yes, there are days that this is what I wish for.
Remember the good old days of the Wish Book? Sears put it out for years, and it would be well-eared by now, creating all kinds of fantasies about the perfect Christmas. It was a sad day when Sears closed its doors and the ways of paper catalogues full of dreams and wishes gave way to the great world-wide web.
Today it is Amazon on-line, and a host of other retailers. Our wish is their command… and the delivery trucks are busy this time of year. Perhaps we have to remind ourselves to get out, take a walk, and shop local.
But the true things of life really wished for go far deeper than the material things. We buy into the lie that stuff will make us happy, but deep down, we know it isn’t true. And as we ramp up to Black Friday …. and I can’t believe all the PRE-black Friday sales that have been heavily advertised, we can get swept into the world of good deals, and the desire that perhaps I do need this stuff…and it seems to get blacker every year.
In the hospital corridors that I often roam in my line of work, I see a far greater need, or wish, if you like. And all the health dollars in the world can’t often create the outcome we desire, or speed up the system, or change some really hard news.
I’ve been thinking lately… is what I wish for truly what I really want… or need?
I do know that is has been the most difficult things in my life that have taught me the most. Things about beauty, and the fragility of relationships, and about noticing the little things. When you think of that pearl that is developed in the darkness of the oyster, it is not without the friction and darkness and challenge that beauty emerges.
I don’t say that lightly. I heard stories just today about what is so hard about a challenging illness. It wouldn’t be wished on anyone. And yet, over and over, I hear those who say that their illness was a gift, a teacher, and that good things happened because of it. Families come together, people help people, what is really important emerges.
I remember well how I felt when I was newly widowed and watching other couples fight over trivial things. It made me crazy. I wanted to shake them and say… don’t you see what you have? And I knew in my loss that I never cherished what I truly had all along.
Yes, we can wish for a comfortable, easy life. I sometimes wonder what a bored life would look like. But then I realize how rich I am, and give thanks for the full life that is mine.
Sometimes we want a church that is comfortable too… a church where we “fit” in. But the truth of it is, we bring our messy lives, we hold tension of not always being the same, we learn to live with unity where there is not always sameness. This is the beauty of communion, the sacrament of eucharist.. we are thankful for what we all share together, broken as we are. We are filled with gratitude for the One who calls us all to live in unity.
So, perhaps I don’t wish for a world without pain. Pain draws attention to what needs attention.
Heart-ache reveals that I have loved deeply and I can bring my cares to God.
We need the rain as much as we need the sun…
And right now as we approach the Advent Season, we bring our longings and our yearnings and what we wish for and ask God what we truly need. For that is where our strength comes from. Not from wishes fulfilled, but knowing we are the beloved and we can say, “The Lord is My Shepherd, I have everything I need.” As Teresa of Avilla said it so well… “God is enough.”