Monday, August 22, 2011


     The other day, in Target, I witnessed a young girl having a complete emotional breakdown over wanting something that her mother would not let her have. She was sobbing and squealing and whimpering, explosively raising her voice, and then breaking down into gasping breaths. Her mother, for the most part, was completely ignoring her. And the tantrum did not stop, but continued on and on and on. Her pain and misery echoed throughout the store- tough on the nerves of other shoppers.
     I watched her closely in the check-out line. Her face was red and blotchy. She was hanging on her mother and repeating over and over through her desperate sobs, "But I really want it, Mommy. I really want it." As if that should be enough. As if her wanting it badly enough, and expressing her desire tirelessly enough, complete with whining, moaning, I'm-going-to-die-if-I-don't-get-it kind of desperation, must surely guarantee her success in getting it. But her mother remained unmoved, and I'm sure the little girl managed to survive the balance of the day in spite of her terrible disappointment.
     If we're honest, don't we all get that way? We may not sob and supplicate ourselves, but internally we are whining and moaning no less than the little girl. Why can't we have it, whatever "it" is? We want it so badly. Poor us. Life is so unfair.
     And yet, we often want things, and even succeed in getting them, that turn out to be bad for us, and bring us nothing but grief. If we allow life to provide for us instead of thinking we have to figure it all out and know what we want, and grab for it when we see it, and fight for it, and moan and complain if we don't get instantaneous satisfaction, we might experience more peace.
     My life goes better when I stop demanding that it be a certain way and enjoy it for being whatever it is. When I try to manufacture outcomes, I set myself up for disappointment. If I let go of the reins a bit, each day holds its perfect mix of things I want and things I need. It only fails me if I have something else in mind.

I want what I have. I refrain from childish tantrums and internal whining. I am grateful for the unexpected blessings that come my way.