Thursday, October 7, 2010

Waiting and Wanting

When I talk with older folks, well, older than me, I hear a recurring opinion about young people - they don't appreciate anything! There is some truth to this - especially that they don't appreciate any THING. I think that most people under 35 have had a lot of stuff in their short lives. And they aren't impressed. Stuff is just stuff for the most part. Most of them have known very little want or wait for things, and so they don't appreciate things, as we, who have experienced want and wait, do.

When I talk with younger people, I hear a recurring opinion about older people - they don't appreciate the value of my time! And, this is also somewhat true. People my age and older routinely call meetings to settle matters that could be handled by e-mail. We often try to handle things by e-mail that would be more easily managed by phone or face-to-face. Most of us were not hurried from early childhood on, and so we don't appreciate the value of time as our younger friends do.

My daughter recently, and casually, dropped the phrase "feast and fast" into a conversation we were having. I've been chewing on that for a couple of weeks - you can't enjoy the feast without the fast. And what is fast but wanting and waiting. Fasting is practice from days gone by that has never, truly, been part of many people's lives beyond observation of other cultures. In many places around the world, people only eat meat on special occasions. A feast day is truly a feast day! Here in the U.S., we have been so richly blessed that we feast all the time. The media is full of reports about American obesity but I think this continual feasting has also impacted our character. Living life without want or wait affects us in interesting ways.

Living without want can make us, ironically, insatiable, or "unsatisfiable". Without a true hunger there is no true satisfaction. This creates an opportunity for other people to tell us what we want – advertisers and the media regularly tell us we would be happier "if only". Yet when we get what they suggest, we remain unsatisfied.

Living without wait makes us impatient, demanding and thoughtless. We medicate ourselves with text messages, phone calls or i-pods, just to make it through the wait in line at the post office or the bank.

Young friends, perhaps it would bless you and your children to fast from something (TV, sugar, technology?) occasionally. They, and you, will learn a little more appreciation. My dear older friends, perhaps it would bless you and your families if you could see time together a little more as a feast to be savored. You might learn to appreciate the gift of time a little more.

Nature fasts and feasts - there are times of drought and times of rain; times of abundance and times of scarcity. Maybe it's helpful to assume that this is part of God's plan for creation and join in the feast-fast cycle of creation. It might help us understand one another better!

1 comment:

rjkohls said...

Even though my children are now adults and having their own children, I enjoy reading your blog every week.
Mary Kohls