“Emma would you like cheese or yogurt?” She pauses, thinks,
“I want ice cream,” she cheers, throwing both arms exuberantly in the air. While in the same food group, ice cream is not on the menu at lunch.
“Well, we don’t have ice cream, would like cheese or yogurt?” It is a gracious moment and I’m still smiling.
“I want ice cream!” She cheers again.
“We don’t have that, we have cheese or yogurt,” my smile is losing its curve.
“Ummmm, yogurt,” she decides to believe me. Not knowing that ice cream has little nutritional value and is apt to give her a belly ache, as opposed to cheese or yogurt which are both higher up on the nutritional value food chain.
Do you ever wonder how often we do that to God?
“I want to marry the tall doctor!” You shout.
“Here, have a doctor of education of average height,” He says.
“Ummmmm, okay,” you decide to believe Him. Upon reflection you realize the tall doctor would have worked impossibly long hours and as you are short a tall man might not be the best choice; while the professor is the perfect height for your build and has much better office hours.
* * *
“I want that,” Emma taps her toe against the cardboard package of a cupcake stand. On the package the stand is depicted full of colorfully decorated cupcakes.
“Huh, what did you say?” I ask, not really sure what she’s talking about. My literal mind knows that she can’t mean the stand, that’s not much fun. Does she want the cupcakes?
“I want that,” the patent leather mary jane toe taps the box again.
“You can’t have that right now, but later in the week you can have some,” I say. I don’t really know what to do with this, what does she really want? Does she want me to produce a tower of cupcakes for her, right here in the passenger seat of our car? Does she even know what is involved in the production of cupcakes, much less a tower of them decorated to look like clowns? Abracadabra, kid, here you go.
Do you even wonder how often we do that to God?
“I want it to stop raining,” you say, looking at your camping trip getting more sodden by the moment. God says,
“Do you even know that I have to change weather patterns in Tibet to make it stop raining here, just because you don’t want to get wet on your vacation?”
Sometimes if I think about things in this perspective it helps me get perspective. Yes, I don’t want to get wet on my vacation, but the land probably needs water more than I need to be dry right now. Yes, I want that, but I probably don’t really know what is good for me. When we desire something is it really something we need or are we just being difficult? My daughter certainly doesn’t need a tower of cupcakes, and she got one later that week. Well, she got one of them, at least.
We all want things that we think we should have. Often we don’t get them. Maybe we just need to trust that what we get is need.