Archive for August 9th, 2012

It all started with a fortune cookie …

What followed were days of deep contemplation.

As I read it now, I hold back from placing the big ‘L’ for loser sign on my forehead. Of course desires that are not extravagant will be granted! The reality of every fortune cookie (or fortune itself) is that there is enough truth in what it says to make a person believe it as their own special, hand-picked message.

How do we define ‘extravagant’ desires?

For me an extravagant desire might be a pedicure, but for another person, living in another context, three meals a day might be an extravagant desire (and I would suppose that a fortune cookie would not be part of their life).

It is easy to sit in our cozy latte drinking, computer-owning, name brand life, and talk about our non-extravagant desires being granted. But, what is it that makes us think that we should receive what much of our fellow human beings do not?

While away on vacation the two of our three kids, who were with us, had great freedom. We allowed them the freedom to go to the beach, hang out with friends, and be out much later than if we were home. The curfew had been set at 10pm, for a couple of nights. Then, one evening our son requested that he be allowed to stay out later. So, after considering why he made his request, we allowed him another half hour. And, we were thrilled that he honored us, by being back by the time we requested.

The next evening when our son came to check in, telling us of the plans for the evening, he requested 10:30 as a time to return to our room. When we said no to his request he was irate!

“But you let me stay out that late last night!” Was his rebuttal.

With the blessing of one ‘extravagant’ desire granted, it became a ‘not extravagant desire’ for our son. To put it another way, once the gift was given once, it became ‘normal’ and expected.

That was NOT our intent, as parents! We simply intended to provide an evening of exception, whereas he interpreted it as a new expectation.

Our son is no different from ourselves as parents, as adults. Like our son, the blessing of one extravagant desire can become for us a new expectation.

Once we have the exception of a tropical vacation, it becomes an expectation. Once we eat at the high end restaurant, it becomes expectation. Once we get that pedicure as a gift, it becomes the expectation. Once we get a summer off from work, it becomes the expectation of summers to come. Once we experience the blessing of full health coverage, it becomes the expectation in our next job. Once we experience the gift of good health, it becomes the expectation.

These ‘non-extravagant’ desires can go on and on and on.

The problem comes when we stop seeing that which is extravagant, as expectation … when we stop seeing each blessing as the gift it is.

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