Since the arrival of my little niece, Charlotte, just a few hours ago, I have wished for a thousand things.
I wish I was there… I wish I could hold her… I just wish I could meet her… I wish I could hug my sister… I wish we lived closer… I wish I could smell her new baby smell… I really wish I had a Starbuck’s hot, venti, skinny, vanilla latte in my hand (What?! I do.)…
I’m the queen of wishing for the impossible.
When my kids were small they started wishing for stuff, too. And it drove me absolutely nuts! Mostly because they would look at me with sad, droopy eyes and “wish” for things instead of asking for them directly, like this – *sigh* “I wish I could have a cookie.” And the response was always the same, “Well, then you should try ASKING for a cookie, and see what happens.”
I don’t know why they kept on wishing, it never really worked for them. As they got older, I got increasingly aggravated at being approached like an invisible Fairy Godmother every time one of my kids wanted something. I was starting to worry about their future. Can you imagine a grown man quietly wishing for a raise in front of his boss, or subtly wishing aloud that his girlfriend would marry him? An adult sadly wishing down the price of a car to the dealer?
That would be ridiculous… not to mention embarrassingly wussy.
Then one day El Chupacabra said something that all but put wishing to an end in our household. I don’t know which kid was wishing, nor do I remember what it was he had wished for, but I do remember that El Chupacabra looked right at him and said flatly:
“Son, wish in one hand and poop in the other. See which one fills up faster.”
And, after an hour and a half of hysterical laughter, the depth of those words sunk into my bones and changed my life forever. ….um…or, they should have, cause that’s brilliant stuff right there!
His point was that if you want something, working for it -not wishing for it- is the way to go. Even if that work is as simple as asking directly. And the other part of that is that if you keep trying to fill up on wishes, you’re going to be left feeling pretty empty.
And he’s right.
The truth is, I can sit here and wish that I had been there when my sister squeezed out this kid, and I can wish that I was holding a squirming bundle of niece in my arms right this second, but I will still be in Costa Rica, and she in NorCal. I can wish and wish and wish that I will wake up tomorrow and there will be a Starbucks barista standing next to my bed ready to hand me a steaming caramel Macchiato… It ain’t gonna happen.
And if I spend too much time wishing about it all, my life could start to feel very, very empty, and then I might get very, very bitter, and I could even forget that I really like my life here in Costa Rica, in fact sometimes I love it, and I could easily dismiss the truth that it is my honor to be here.
So instead of whispering my longings to the universe today, I will say them directly to God. I will be proactive by praying for this new baby, my sister and her family, and I’ll resist the urge to be inactive by wishing I was nearer to them.
I have to admit – I’ve been wishing too often lately. Wishing for more money. Wishing I could change certain things. Wishing to heal a few deep wounds. Wishing that I wasn’t paralyzed at times by this overwhelming life I’ve found myself living. Wishing for a certain overly expensive coffee chain to show up and make it all better.
I’ve been doing too much wishing, and not enough pooping… er…you know what I mean…
Is there something you’ve been wishing for that you could, instead, be proactively working toward? Or is there a wish on your list for something you can’t change, and it’s leaving you empty?