I read an article the other day called “5 People Who Did NOT Deserve to Win the Lottery.”
The author listed reasons for their unworthiness, including fraud, free spending, partying, illegal activities, and drugs. Apparently the lottery is a dangerous game–especially if you win. One guy even died. The article said that he was married but had a girlfriend on the side, and his girlfriend’s boyfriend decided that he didn’t want any competition, so he told the girlfriend to kill her other boyfriend. Yeah, confusing (especially since it has nothing to do with money). But anyway, he died.
It’s proof that getting what you want is not always the best thing.
I know what you’re saying to yourself right now. I can read your mind. I thought the exact same thing.
“Well, if I won the lottery, I would….”
No you wouldn’t.
Honestly, you never know what you’ll do until the moment comes. You can prepare, you can practice, you can say “Gasp! I would NEVER do THAT!” You can make budgets and schedules and planners and plans and itineraries and shopping lists and Iphone notes. Cue the applause. But when that moment comes, will you really do what you’ve planned to do?
I bet that guy never planned to die after he won the lottery. I bet that girl never planned to live off of government welfare even while holding a million dollars in the other fist….or to serve the subsequent prison sentence.
Sometimes desire is more deadly than disappointment. And I’m not just talking about physical death…
Because you never know what you REALLY want until you get it. You never know how you’ll handle it. What it will do to you…who you will become.
Let’s do an experiment…
Think about it. Think of that thing right now that you want. Desperately. Heart pounding, sweating, urging desire. For a loved one to live. A romantic relationship. A job. A car. A golden retriever. A promotion. Good health. To walk again. A kind word. Someone who will just listen. To relive a part of life. Think of it. What you really want…
And then you don’t get it.
Maybe that’s where you are right now. That lonely ache that feels like a stone inside of you, a backpack with bricks that you carry everywhere you go. That fake smile you give to your coworkers. Sitting on the bathroom floor, banging your head against the wall, mascara mixed with tears streaming down your cheeks. Hollowness. Emptiness. Coldness. Anger. Fear. Hopelessness
Imagine that thing you want again. You probably also have a planned, scheduled response of what you will say, do, think, and feel once you receive it. Once it is within reach, once you grasp it, once it feeds and floods your senses. The genie is in your hands. Power. Control. Invincibility. Pride. Happiness. Emotional highs. You have it! It’s yours!
And the problem is….what? What’s wrong with getting what you want? What if your desire is something GOOD (like children, marriage, a job, money to provide, cancer-free living, a restored friendship)? What’s so bad about that?!
But dang, it’s dangerous. Even if what you want is good.
Some people handle getting what they want like they handle alcohol or food. A little bit here, a little bit there. Moderation.
Other people gorge themselves on the desire until they are drunk with it. Things get blurry. Wants turn into needs and needs turn into wants. The big picture shrinks until its just a microscope eyepiece pointed on that ONE THING. It’s you, and whatever you have. Nothing else exists.
What an empty life.
If you aren’t getting it, think of Anakin Skywalker and Padme. See it now? He was an apprentice in one of the most revered organizations in that galaxy far, far away. He was the chosen one, for crying out loud! He was handsome, brilliant, and cunning. Success was in the bag. You’d think that this story could only end in “happily ever after.”
But Star Wars is a tragedy. It’s a story of one man wanting something SO MUCH that everything else faded into the backdrop.And he got what he wanted. He got the best of both worlds (like Hannah Montana 😉 )
But it was STILL a tragedy.
Look at that, and for a moment don’t try to tell yourself that it’s fiction. Don’t try to tell yourself that you’re any different. You may be. But you may not be. You may not even know.
Sometimes, getting what we want is good. Sometimes it ends in a terrible mess where the pains of regret and guilt are alot worse than the pains of disappointment.
Stop wanting things? Go for asceticism?
Just remember. Keep it in the back of your brain. The next time something disappoints you, remember…