This past Sunday, I was sitting in Sacrament Meeting at church, in my customary position of finding a relatively quiet back corner of the chapel and trying to at least look like I’m paying attention to the speakers. To be perfectly honest, I just don’t think I’ve ever been all that good at the whole church routine. I go every week unless circumstances prevent it, I figure that on a good day I can manage to do about 90% of the things that I’m supposed to be doing, and I generally try to be a good person, but getting that last 10% right remains a lot more challenging task for me than I’d really like it to be. The fact that not only do I remain chronically single in a church which considers family to be the one main thing we should be focusing our entire lives around certainly doesn’t help, but that I’m just about the only single adult in the ward within my age group certainly doesn’t help much either. In spite of this, I keep trying (with decidedly mixed results) and do what I can. Sometimes I have a hard time paying attention in meetings though, partially because it sometimes seems like the talks tend to fall into the category of “47 things that you are currently doing wrong” (and most of the time they’re right,) and partially because I have trouble paying much attention to anything for three hours straight, regardless of the subject matter.
It was in this semi-distracted state that I found myself on this particular Sunday, and to be honest, if you asked me what the speakers were talking about on this particular day, I’d be hard pressed to give you an answer beyond a few vague details. In this case, some of this distraction was coming from the young family which had taken up the remainder of the bench I was sitting on. As they are inclined to do, these young children were busying themselves with the typical activities of a bored toddler, wandering around the area, playing with the hymnbooks and whatever other objects happened to be provided to keep them quiet (I know I did the same things back when I was young child in Sacrament meetings,) and generally not exactly being quite as reverent as the parents would like them to be. I wasn’t paying enough attention to what was going on over on the other side of the bench, but it seems one of the young boys did somethig to warrant a mild scolding from his mother. In another fairly typical example of bored toddler behavior, he began throwing a fit about one thing or another (again, I don’t know the details,) and somewhere in the process of trying to get they boy to quiet down in the chapel, she told him that, as the title mentions above, it was not good for him to have everything he wants. I don’t know exactly what it was about that particular quote, but for some reason it stuck with me, far more than anything that was spoken from the pulpit during this particular Sacrament meeting.
And while it may be easy for me to say that you can see the wisdom in a statement like that, at the same time I have to wonder why it is that it made such an impact. It’s one thing to say something like this to a toddler who is, quite frankly, too young to have developed a proper sense of right and wrong. It’s another thing to be someone who, for all intents and purposes, has just about everything he wants, and to hear the same statement, even if it wasn’t directed at me. Naturally, the first instinct seems to be to rationalize it away. After all, I don’t have everything I want. For one thing, I certainly don’t own a Porsche just yet. And I’m still at least five floors away from the penthouse… Well OK, so this rationalizing things away clearly isn’t convincing anyone, is it? But still, I don’t have a wife yet, and from the sound of things I’m pretty sure I’m still supposed to want one of those. right? But if I do want a wife, then… Hey, wait a second here. I’m really doing a lousy job with this metaphor, aren’t I? Oh well…
But all joking aside, I do think there’s something to be said here. After all, even if I don’t have someone out there unquestioningly catering to whatever foolish whim I might have (and yeah, I’m pretty sure I do have a few of those) or preventing me from doing basically whatever I want to do, it doesn’t mean that I can’t manage to end up spoiled all on my own. In fact, it turns out that this can happen quite easily if I let it, regardless of whatever circumstances I happen to be in.