Friday, December 15, 2006

Advertising the Epidemic of Needs

Most obsessions are the perpetuation of misjudgments. In fact, more people die in the epidemics of needs than in the epidemics of disease. Abraham Joshua Heschel

I seem to be a laboratory of unpredictable needs and interests. Some of these needs bubble up from what I would call healthy places inside of me and I recognize them as simply inherent in being human. Others, induced by volatile chemicals like advertising, style, envy or a combination of many things seem to be wildly unhealthy. In and through it all I’m aware that there are not as many days in the laboratory as I would like where I feel content in the sense that the Apostle Paul said he was content. I probably shouldn’t admit that. It may ruin whatever impression you have of me. But as I am in a life-long struggle to rid myself of impression-management I think it would be best for me to confess.

Along those lines, I can’t seem to get over this line from Dag Hammarskjold (the ‘o’ in Hammarskjold should have a couple little Scandinavian dots over the top but I don’t know how to do that so pretend that they are there.) who said, “Hunger is my native place in the land of passions.” First of all, that is amazingly creative and concise. I wish I had written it and he had written something better. Secondly, uh… that’s me many days. Hungry. Not for food. (Although I am going to my moms in a couple of weeks and am looking forward to cinnamon rolls. ) No, it’s not food or drink. It’s a feeling, a desire, a little voice, a discomfort like bare feet on hot sand that makes me move with more emotion. Left unchecked it could ruin me. I would be caught up in the "epidemic of needs" that Heschel speaks of. But admitting seems to deflate it's temptation and it's intensity. (It's almost like God is providing a way out of temptation through confession... hmmm... neat concept.)

As of this writing it is Christmas season. (Although in Phoenix it’s 75 degrees, sunny and hanging lights in a yard full of cactus and sharp desert foliage doesn’t put me in the Christmas mood.) My gift to God and subsequently everyone this season is at every gift I unwrap, each card I open and during each hug I receive I'll whisper a prayer of thanksgiving and a prayer of submission.

Yes, I know hunger. That’s just a part of it all. But it will not control me. The One who “satisfies my desires” will.

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