A Catholic Convert in Ottawa

Wanting What We Have

Posted on: September 8, 2015

In 1990, Sinéad O’Connor released an album called I Do Not Want What I Haven’t Got.

So many items could fill our list of things we want—some of them universal, such as an end to war or racism, a better life for our children, or an opportunity to make a difference in our community. If we take a good look at that mental list, though, things we could do without fill a number of the slots. And too often we don’t want what we do have.

We see a professionally remodelled house on TV and wish ours looked like something out of a decorating magazine, forgetting that our less-than-spotless place is home to a young, active family and that a little mess goes with the territory.

We wish our spouse were more handy or more social or more something, forgetting that he is kind and generous, can barbecue anything and plays a mean game of street hockey with the kids or that she has a great sense of humour, keeps track of everyone’s activities and can balance the chequebook.

We wish our children listened more and were more diligent about their schoolwork, overlooking the fact that they’re healthy and strong when so many children are not and that they’re growing up to be people of character and strong faith.

If we realized that the grass only seems greener in that new gated community we drive by on the way to work, we’d be a lot more content with our lives.

It’s easy to say we’re more focussed on our wants these days when many of us can satisfy our basic needs of food, shelter and clothing, but a glance at Ecclesiastes 6:9* confirms this is no modern problem:

Better is the sight of the eyes than the wandering of desire; this also is vanity and a striving after wind.

Maybe we need to pause for a moment each day and look at all that we have to be grateful for: our senses, our health, food and shelter, the love of our family, our talents and good qualities, the freedoms and opportunities we enjoy, and so on.


At the top of the list of things I’m grateful for…

As the Rolling Stones reminded us, “You can’t always get what you want.” God doesn’t always give us what we want because he’s a loving father and he knows that having our every wish fulfilled wouldn’t be good for us.

May we stop to notice and appreciate what we have and thank God for the ways he has blessed and continues to bless us.

(*Scripture quote taken from the Holy Bible, Revised Standard Version, Second Catholic Edition.)


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Food for Thought

(Y)ou do not know about tomorrow. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we shall live and we shall do this or that.” ~ James 4:14-15

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