So this entire post has come from the HGTV show "House Hunters" and a quote from Epicurus. Now how cool, groovy, and esoteric is that?? I am simply fascinated with the ubiquitous fascination of stainless steel appliances on "House Hunters". This couple will walk into a gorgeous kitchen, usually stating they never cook, look around and say, "Oh but the appliances aren't stainless. That is just a deal breaker!". I sit there thinking, "Really??? Why?? Have you tried to keep stainless looking good especially with children? Impossible. THIS is your deal breaker??". It makes no sense. And then the quote from Epicurus, "If thou wilt make a man happy, add not unto his riches but take away from his desires." All in all some pretty good stuff.
But then I started thinking. What if isn't our desires that cause so much strife and anxiety but the desires that we have been socially conditioned to accept as what everyone should want or more insidious, what the "good life" entails? What if keeping up with the Jones is what is really getting us, and keeping us, down?
I think we can all agree that several decades of relentlessly and ruthlessly attempting to keep up with that proverbial family has landed us all into serious hot water. If not you personally, then the country in general. The mindless pursuit of wealth and status has led to a staggering number of foreclosures, respossesions, sky high credit card bills, and bankruptcys. Even more sad, it is has led to divorce, depression, families ripped apart, and suicide. Remember, this is the "good life".
So I challenge you to really think about what you really want. If you take away all the commercials, ads, and adult peer pressure, what would actually make you happy and bring you true peace?
I will tell you what I want. I want a house full of love, laughter, gentleness, and joy. I want my children to run and laugh with abandon inside the house. I don't want no-no rooms or things lying around that would be tragic if they were broken in a game of don't touch the floor.
I don't want an impressively beautiful home. I want a home that is warm, lovely, and quirky. I want you to take off your shoes because you are are comfy and snug not because you might mess something up. I want a home full of hospitality. I hope my home will be the place deep relationships are born and nurtured. A place where you know you can come to laugh, share your joys, cry when your heart is breaking, or lean on a strong shoulder when you just can't do it alone anymore. I don't want it to be a showcase of all my fancy material stuff.
I want a home filled with ideas. I want passionate and lively discussion not zombies in front of a huge flat screen tv. I want books passed around, digested, and dissected. I want to hear arguments over what Shakespeare really meant by....
I want yummy, healthy food. I want friends to stop by for a quick bowl of hearty soup. I want dinner parties full of joy and friendship. Not formal affairs, but casual craziness that finds people on the floor, the couch, the sunroom, wherever.
I want a car that can handle muddy trips to the creek. I see tired babies falling asleep after a day of adventure and exploration. Their dreams are of all the wonderful things they have seen not momma screaming because the precious interior of the car might get dirty.
I don't want a Wii. Nope not at all. I don't want a game system to simulate experiences. I would much rather play tennis with my children, take them bowling, hula hoop with them outside. There is no need to pretend if you really do it. In addition, I want to be active in general. I want long family hikes. I want to play without inhibition on the playground with my children. I want to race together when we are older.
I desperately want my children to know that it is NOT necessary to always give your best and your all to any endeavor. I want them to learn that sometimes good enough IS good enough. I hope they learn that not striving for perfection can be much healthier and leave more time and energy for other things. Be the best all the time often leads to adults desperately overcoming perfection and self confidence issues.
I want my children to be open and willing to try new things and fail gloriously. I want them to try the piano even if they are tone deaf. I want them to understand that parents who scream and berate their children to constantly succeed at all costs are....wrong and sad.
I want a family that love God with all their mind, all the heart, all the strenth, with all their all. I want a house laid back enought to fingerpaint and make paper mache messes, to create. I want a family who shares close bonds, love, laughter, tears, fears, joys, and sorrows without shame or derision. I want friends who are family and family who are friends.
Truthfully, I am extraordinarily bless that I already have most of my wants. Some days are better than others. Some days I get caught up in wanting some nonsense a well paid ad executive told me to want. But most days, this is what I want and I praise God because this is what I have. So I aske you, what do you want?