She is thin.
She is organized.
She fits in my pocket.
She can be silenced.
She brings balance to the force.
She's been my obsession for about two months.
The iPad mini. I want one of these so bad that I arrange visits with it at Best Buy during my lunch hour. I haven't pulled the plug yet because I know what this is about. I've been here before. I have reminders of similar love affairs all over the house and office: a fancy camera, a road bike, jet skis (yeah, jet skis), etc...
When I was a kid and I had to get a shot at the doctor's office, my mother would take me to the Dairy Queen to ease the pain.
My wife once got her hair done at an unfamiliar salon right before a wedding. It was atrocious. She was in crocodile tears, but with a quick trip to the 7 Eleven for a chocolate bar and a Coke she was feeling better.
My nine-year old daughter was just showing me the contents of the sewing box she had made: needle, thread, a ripper and two lollipops. I asked what the lollipops were for and she told me they were in case she pricked her finger, they would make her feel better. And today the iPad is my lollipop.
While life is hard, comfort is readily available in a thousand different ways. My pursuit of it often involves some combination of the these: 1. suit up for the day with caffeine 2.work late to get ahead so I can enjoy my time off (?) 3. reward myself for surviving it with something to take the edge off. 4. escape to movies because they numb my mind 5. stay up late (because this is MY time) 5. borrow energy from the night before with more caffeine 6. eat more than I need (but not because I'm hungry)
If these don't work, just buy something.
I am in constant pursuit of comfort. But the comfort I seek is elusive, especially for larger issues: The drop off in sales. The betrayal. The relationship that feels like it's going sour. The battle with the spouse. The fight with my son.
There are hardships a margarita can't fix. While Jimmy Buffett may not be willing to admit this, I have to be. At some point we have to take a hard look at where we go looking for life and ask if we're finding it.
Humanity has learned to walk and operate under the crushing weight of loneliness and disappointment. Jesus is very up front about the fact that life is filled with pain, that this is the present state of the human condition, and that God alone is able to address it with any authority or offer any real comfort.
If you boil down our search into a single desire, what would you call it?
Would it be anything other than LIFE?
I am constantly surprised by how difficult and lonely life can feel. My investments in earthly comfort have always left me dry again. But the pursuit of comfort on earth can lead to us forgetting what we're actually aching for. We want to know that we are okay and that we are loved. The pursuit of comfort can actually thwart the plans of God.
There is a redeeming quality to pain and suffering in that it is the most reliable path to it's solution. It leads us back to God. The human story from beginning to end is about the loss of life as it was intended, and God's abundant provision to restore it. The offer is ours if we choose the ancient path of God instead of detours in to the Apple Store.
I may still get the iPad mini. But my soul will find rest in God alone. I know this full well.
"But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it." -Jesus
May you find exactly what you're looking for.