Thursday, May 28, 2015

I Wish . . .


Sometimes I look at my goals as wishes.  

I know what I want but I have no plan to actually engage in a committed process to obtain it.  In fact, my plan is to just wait for it. Either I’m not interested in working for it, I don’t know what to do, or I believe it’s impossible for me to do anything to obtain it.

I may wish for something to be given to me—a new car, win the lottery, or prince charming.  I may wish to be called on an adventure by Gandalf or by a letter from Hogwarts.  I could be waiting for the phone to ring, an email to come through, or some amazing text message that will change my life or at least make my day (D&C58:26).

It’s interesting that if you look up synonyms for the verb to wish the words given do not distinguish between the North (Hope),  Northeast (Wish), or even the Northwest (Demand) meanings of Desire.  The thesaurus gives the following words for Wish (v):

Desire
Longing
Yearning
Inclination
Urge
Whim
Craving
Hunger
Hope
Aspiration
Dream

The strength of Desire, the length of time we maintain it, and the conflicting Desires we’re willing to sacrifice are not accounted for in this mix of words.  For instance, wanting something on a whim just for tonight is a lot different than longing or yearning for something for years and sacrificing other things we could have obtained a lot sooner and a lot easier.  Consistently hungering for something is different than dreaming we could have it (#SermonOnTheMount).

When we’re serious enough about our Desire, we hunger for it.  We long and yearn for it.  And that motivates us to work to obtain it.  Our choices, our sacrifices, our work is the manifestation of our Desire.  Here’s an example:

Jacob and Rachel
Jacob journeyed to where his extended family had lived for a few generations to find a wife instead of marrying a Canaanite (Genesis 29, Deut 7:3-4).  There he met Rachel.  This is how he felt about her when he first met her:  “And Jacob kissed Rachel, and lifted up his voice, and wept.”

After living and working with Rachel’s family for a month, her father asked him if he (Jacob) should be working for nothing.  What will your wages be?  Or in other words, What is your Desire?  “And Jacob loved Rachel; and said, I will serve thee for seven years for Rachel thy younger daughter.”  Rachel's dad agreed to this deal.  So Jacob worked for Rachel for 7 years.  He waited for her and she for him.  Neither went out to other sources for this Desire in order to survive the wait.  This is what Jacob felt about those 7 years: “...and they seemed unto him but a few days, for the love he had to her” (Genesis 29:20).

Northern Desire is not about relying on luck.  Yet it does have an element of relying on powers greater than our own.  For example, in the story of Cinderella, she wants to go to the ball.  Her mean stepmother and sisters give her so much work that she has very little time to prepare herself to go.  As the final limiting straw, they rip her dress, the only one she could have worn to it.  She’s out of time and means in spite of her effort.  Enter Fairy Godmother.  We may think that Fairy Godmothers are on the same fiction level as luck.  But they’re not.  At least in this story, they aren’t.  When we do all we can to identify and then engage in the inherent pathway to obtain our desired destination, our Cause helps us.  He or she may not appear magically like Cinderella’s Fairy Godmother.  More often than not we have known our Fairy Godmother for quite some time.  She may not have a wand that makes a beautiful dress out of thin air.  She most likely has been preparing to help us for a long time and the “dress” is a product of lots of work and care.  In fact, most of us have individuals in our lives that act as Fairy Godmothers to us.  What they do for us doesn’t seem so magical because we see the time and effort behind their gifts but it’s equally if not more valuable because of that.

Grandpa and Grandma Palla
My own Grandmother played such a role for me.  As a sophomore in high school, I began to desire to go to BYU.  We didn’t have much money.  There would be no way to pay for it unless I did student loans and such (but I didn't know about those things then).  Enter Fairy Grandmother.  She told me that if I could work to get the grades necessary to get accepted to a university she would pay for it.  My grades went from Bs-Cs to Bs-As over the next 2 years.  She gave me direction and motivation to work harder.  My grades definitely weren’t perfect but with her support and a total miracle I was accepted into BYU.  In a sense my Grandma played a Gandalf role.  She was the one who came to call me on a journey.  She was like Dumbledore sending me a "letter from Hogwarts." : )

I have also struggled with teaching my kids to get out of Northeast Desire.  One time I took them to the beach.  We stayed in a really cool beach cabin, went to the beach during the day, and rented movies and got ice cream at night.  All kinds of fun and tasty treats.  But they were miserably fighting the whole time and they refused to help me clean anything.  This is when moms start feeling like Cinderella.  So I sat them all down and had a talk.  I asked them to tell me all the things they were receiving on this vacation.  They listed them off.  Then I said, “It sounds like a dream come true.  So why are you guys fighting with each other all the time, refusing to help clean, and acting like you’re the most miserable kids in the world?”  And that actually sunk in.  They all stared at me, evidently trying to figure out the answer (this kind of response didn't happen very often).  I told them, “I can work my butt off to give you everything your heart desires.  I can do all the cleaning while you guys play.  I would buy you more things or do something more for you if that was indeed the thing that would bring more happiness to our family.  But it's not.  It’s out of my hands now.  It’s you that needs to do something.  You need to give, to help, to serve and to love.   That’s what’s going to make you happy.Cool thing is that sunk in too and they actually started helping more, treating each other more kindly, and buying less candy from the corner store.  The vacation only got better from there.  This lesson has had to be taught and learned over and over again through the years for both my kids and myself.