Incompatible with Reality

Watching my daughter grow is perhaps one of the most fascinating hobbies ever. Her personality, which has always been very definite, is getting more and more pronounced, and it is funny to see the combination of traits that she shares with Kathleen and I.

One thing that is becoming more and more a habit with her, which I can relate to, is that she is starting to want things that are simply not possible. When she was a newborn her desires were all very simple and straightforward. She was hungry and she wanted to eat. She was tired so she wanted to sleep. She was wet and wanted to be changed. It was a simple matter for us to identify the problem, and fix it. Even on those nights when her tummy hurt or she was constipated, we could figure out what the problem was, and there was, at least in theory, a fix for it.

Even when we couldn’t fix the problem, for instance when she was in the car seat and wanted out, we knew how to make the problem all better. All we had to do was stop driving, take her out of the car seat and snuggle her and she would be happy again. We just choose not to because we have other things we have to do, things which she has no concept of.

But these impossible desires seem different to me. Perhaps I am simply projecting my own permanent discontent on her. I don’t know. The other day she was sitting on the living room floor trying to eat my nalgene water bottle. It was half full of water and too heavy for her to lift, so she couldn’t get it up off the ground. When she could get it standing upright and put her mouth on it, the nalgene still refused to be eaten. She could chew on it for a second or two, and then it would fall over and she would have to start all over again.

That is what I mean by a desire incompatible with reality. She wants to pick up the water bottle and eat it, but that is simply not possible. I can’t help her with that because “that” is not even a thing. Still, she struggled with all her might for about ten minutes, and it was cute. It built her muscle and added one more piece to her picture of reality. Desiring impossible things is good for you.

I wonder if that is how God looks at me sometimes, when I keep telling Him how much I want something. “God, I want this so bad!”

Is He smiling at me, saying, “It’s so cute how wrong you are right now. That isn’t even a thing.”

“But I want it!”

“How about you play with this other thing that I have created for you that perfectly suits your strength and ability level?”

“But I want this!”

He knows eventually I will grow up and get over it. So He lets me fail, and grow by failing. I wonder if that is part of what the symbolism of Jacob wrestling the Angel means? Is our struggle and lack of contentment with reality somehow a way of wrestling with God, and a means of growth?

What do you think? Join the discussion.

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