Thursday, December 14, 2006

I Can't Get No . . .

Yesterday a friend asked me what I wanted for Christmas. We were emailing back and forth (because, argh, he has yet to get into instant messaging) and I replied with a tongue in cheek answer that was -- at the time -- supposed to be teasingly vague and intriguing.


I get points for vague but I think I was more intrigued than he with the speed in which I came up with this and later the actual truth of it.

Growing up in my oh-so-fundamentalist-but-I-didn't-know-it church, we sang "I am satisfied. . . . I am satisfied with Jesus." Today my little coffeehouse community will at times sing the song "Enough." But I don't sing that one. At least I haven't since I really considered the words, "Jesus, you're more than enough for me."

I don't sing it because . . . well, it's not true. At least not for me. At least not yet. OK, sometimes I allow for the fact that I want it to be true and so I'll sing in the hope of its reality in my life. But for the most part, I use this time to pray and ask God why satisfaction seems to be such an illusion for me.

Now, before some of you get out of sorts, let me clarify. Yes, I know that I have all that I need by way of physical comforts. The roof over my head may be someone else's floor but my humble abode is perfectly suited to my personality and the limits of my hospitality. The food I eat is beyond filling . . . even my snacks are exotic and luscious. My clothes are as stylish as I can push myself to attempt. I'm truly covered in every way. And believe me, "grateful" is with me all day, every day. I am absolutely grateful. But satisfied?

Satisfaction feels almost like an illusion . . . like smoke rising after the magician yells "abracadabra." I see it in the distance, exposed by the light, but touching it? Not really an option.

I know that greed makes many want for more. I know that addictions attempt to fill the hole. I know that many a religious fanatic would swear that Jesus has taken care of all that for them and (after saying a simple prayer with all heads bowed and eyes closed) will do so for me, you and whoever else we can grab as well.

But, I don't see it. I don't see satisfaction in those folks. I see striving similar to gerbils in a wheel, spinning without relocating to anywhere new. Even the ones that I know have some degree of peace . . . they're still "working at" this whole faith thing.

Peace . . . that's really what I'm talking about. You see that don't you? A peace that calms the want, quells the desire, caps the longing . . . now that would be satisfaction.

The angels told us it was coming -- peace on earth, good will, etc. But still we can't quite seem to get such satisfaction.

So . . . if you have some to spare . . . put a bow on it and send it my way, ok?


Anonymous said...

It is the nature of existence that we never feel satisfied. Otherwise, we would never seek friendship, food, adventure, etc. But, I think peace is differenct from satisfaction. Peace, for me, comes from knowing, or realizing, or accepting, that to be satisfied I must know what it's like to be unsatisfied, to be full, I must know what it's like to be empty. But, that's just me.


KC said...

james i always love what you have to say. . . you got me thinking . . . perhaps i'm equating the result with the means of getting there, i.e. satisfaction with what it produces. will have to think on it . . . but definitely do see what you mean about the nature of existence.

Finding the Happy said...

It is human nature that once satisfaction is achieved, we want more...there is no peace in satisfaction. Thomas Merton wrote extensively about this during the latter part of his brief life. Might shed some insight on the subject for you.

Neumann-is-an-island said...

Maybe we should try little steps first. Try being content and satisfied for one hour (sleeping doesn't count). Try going an hour not wishing for something for ourselves. Perhaps it cannot be done, I do not know. I know that I would be on the top-ten list of people who want something. Material, abstact, expensive, simple or a really good roast-beef sandwich.

Even when I am being selfless (hey, it could happen), I want to help others because it makes me feel good and I want more of that feeling. I do not know if we can be satisfied.

If we are to be Christ-like, then I suppose the question turns to; Was Jesus satisfied? Didn't he ask for more time? Did he ever ask anything of anyone?

KC said...

This is getting very interesting . . . especially when we're working with our own perceptions of what "satisfaction" might mean. I was writing from this one: to put an end to (a desire, want, need, etc.) by sufficient or ample provision. Therefore, if to be "satisfied" is to put an end to, then we might not want more? . . . I'm very intrigued with the idea of whether or not Jesus was satisfied. Hadn't considered that ... but he definitely asked for more .... hmmmmmmm

Finding the Happy said...

Uh huh...I understood where you were coming from...but I hold my ground in stating that it is a human condition to keep reaching, sampling, tasting, what common end I do not know, but it isn't satisfaction.

For example:

"This is the best wine I've ever tasted." Do you 'put an end to' drinking wine thereafter? No, something which tastes better or is more "satisfying" comes along and then it's the new favorite du jour...until the next more satisfying glass of wine comes along.

In my humble opinion...