Tuesday, March 6, 2012

long talks with God, hand-me-downs and church BBQ's

There is this screaming ache inside each of us that longs to be quenched. The famous philosopher and mathematician Pascal (1623-1662) put it nicely when he wrote in his Pensees (10.148):1 

What else does this craving, and this helplessness, proclaim but that there was once in man a true happiness, of which all that now remains is the empty print and trace? This he tries in vain to fill with everything around him, seeking in things that are not there the help he cannot find in those that are, though none can help, since this infinite abyss can be filled only with an infinite and immutable object; in other words by God himself.

I remember sitting in Sunday school as a child hearing about how Satan tempts us with worldly pleasures and in our human nature, we are tempted to indulge in order to momentarily quench our never-ending thirst for "more".  I remember thinking of all of the ways that I would fight Satan when the day came that he offered me the doomed, "wordly pleasure" (as a kid, you're convinced that it truly is that simple). My mom recorded me saying when I was a toddler, "Mom, can I be Chelsea when I'm done being Amber? She has better toys". Even as young children, when our brains can't fully comprehend some of the most elementary concepts, we inadvertently experience that natural longing and ceaseless desire for "more". 

As we grow up, we realize how complicated Satan's webs of lies really are. The more we fill our lives with stuff, the harder it becomes to "hold loosely to the things of this world." Its like the high of a drug that leaves you with nothing else but the desire for more. Over the years the non-fiction charts have been dominated with self help books like, "The Happiness Project", "The Power of Now" and "The Secret", each offering a formula of sorts to finding true happiness in your life. There are manuals on how to be rich, how to be thin, how to be a better you. Titles that are wealthy in emotional wisdom, everything for everyone who ever suffered from a twinge of hurt or doubt. Through walking through Barnes and Noble I've realized that even in the land of endless possibilities, its obvious that we still aren't satisfied.

The older I get, the more I feel like "small talk" runs rampant and I'm terrible at it. Maybe I am a little socially awkward to begin with, but how many times can we talk about 5 star restaurants, who got what new thing and who makes more money. All this is all great but isn't there something more to us? Where's the depth and true meaning? I feel like we don't stand a chance against temptation in a world where comparison is everywhere... in a world where we're fighting for our image. The older I get the easier I find it to slip into the lie that more clothes and a nicer house, and a better car will fill that longing inside of me. I have to realize that true happiness can't be found within me, or my mindset, or in what can be bought here on earth, because although all that stuff may be nice for a while, there is still that God shaped hole inside us that only he can fill... and that's where the lasting happiness is found.
So here's to long talks with God, hand-me-downs and church BBQ's <----- true happiness, simplicity and depth.
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