When we first planned for our house, we dreamed of a garden, perfectly landscaped, with everything inside our house, complete and new. There was more to that but you get the picture. That was the dream.
This was the reality. When we first moved in, the construction of the house left us with debts left and right, that we didn’t get to buy a dining set and sofa. We used the good old beds and some of the things we had from our parents’ house, at that time, resolved to buy new ones in the future – but never did. Thank God, we still had some kitchen stuff which we got as gifts from our wedding years ago. Fence was humorously unfinished. Instead of a beautiful garden, grass would grow in the front yard and there was a time when a stray cat would regularly poop there until we poured vinegar on that area.
We were filled with desires to complete everything and lack of funds to fulfill these desires. As days went on, we wished we could already have this and that, some urgent, some not. Desires urged us with a false need, making us think that we must have a certain thing right away, when in fact, it was just a want. These desires only left us with frustrations, disappointments like hunger and thirsts, that would not get filled and quenched.
Bless our children, who, unlike adults, were as happy as they could be when we moved in. Without a sofa then, they would lay a mat in the living area, where they could sit while doing all sorts of things. They would read, play and find ways to amuse themselves. The echoes of their voices and resounding laughter were the only noise in the neighborhood. We had what we needed and more! Joy of togetherness, joy of a family, joy of God.
So we stopped wishing and desiring much for our house. Instead, we simply bought what is necessary, gradually, as our finances would allow, one at a time. We got our heads and hands on some DIY activities. After sometime, we finally had that little garden. We did let go of the idea of paying someone to do the landscaping because it was too expensive, instead, ending up with me buying the plants and giving my husband ideas and instructions (the easier part), and my husband, doing the landscaping part.
When we stopped looking at what was missing, started counting what we have and thanking God for what He has given, we discovered rest and freedom – from endless material desires. It was a humbling experience not to have exactly what you planned and dreamed of. Through this experience, God taught us patience in waiting for His Help and a practice of detachment from things that are temporary.
Desires for earthly things is like trudging a long beautiful road with no end and you just keep on going and going. Your eyes get lost in the delightful scenery. You get tired along the way but you are bound to continue because there’s no place for rest.
When we desire for something and finally get it, we do not really stop. We get happy only for awhile. What material things give us is mere temporary pleasure, excitement and satisfaction, all disguised as joy.
There is simply no point in exhausting all energy and money on our temporary home on earth, when we can prepare instead for our permanent home with our Lord, where there is no unquenchable desire, but true love, joy and peace that the world cannot invent, the kind that only our Creator can give.
For He, alone, knows exactly what His children need. Only God can fill this need permanently and give our soul that perfect rest.
To God be the glory!