We are in the era of The Big Want. I think this was begun, and has been sustained by, advertisers which have fueled consumerism. They have become very clever at creating an emptiness in us, and then promising they can fill it with their products, their lifestyle, their plans.
Before the invention of moveable type, the poor crofter's wife cleaned with plain old lye. She didn't know about New and Improved Lye, and because the Old and Ordinary Lye worked just fine, thank you, she simply got on with the business of cleaning. She also didn't flip through magazines yearning for this season's belt which is thin, while all her belts were so obviously last season, being so wide and all. How did Lady Llwoddellyn of Wales know what was au courant in Milan in the Spring season of 976? She wore the same thing she wore two years ago, unless she was summoned to court, in which case she ordered up a new dress of the exact same pattern as all her others, except without the moth hole in the elbow, and the repaired hem where Lord Llowddellyn kept stepping on it.
Whenever I go online, I'm followed around by ads for secrets to having a slimmer stomach. If they (advertisers) knew me, they'd offer me sure-fire ways to wake up three inches taller; and if I could only find the perfect lip gloss, life would be pretty fine indeed.
What is it we really want? Because for sure we want something; I'm just not sure we know what it is, and we'll never be satisfied until we can figure it out. In the meantime, we think we want things we really don't, so that when we get them, we're still unsatisfied, so we go back to wanting more.
This realization hit me a few days ago as I was puttering around my room. I was in the process of deciding what to bring on my trip, and the thought of 'what do I want' was prominent in my mind. In the time honoured tradition of aha moments, I understood all at once that I have been asking for a particular something for such a long time now, but at the same time have been running away from actually getting it. I persist in asking, needling God and whining, pouting through prayer times, racking up the novenas and spending a great deal of time speculating about this thing. I've been so busy asking that I haven't taken the time to receive it.
I don't really know how that revelation ties into New and Improved Lye or toned tummies, but I know that my constant wanting has kept me empty for a long time. I think I need to take some time to reflect carefully on what it is I really want, and then in complete trust (and with a great deal of bravery, which is needed in order to accept a great gift) ask for it. No advertisement needed.