One of my daughter’s favorite books at the moment is Richard Scarry’s Cars and Trucks and Things that Go. She wants me to read it at least once a day, and she also brings it up in daily conversation. So naturally when she had a playdate with a friend of hers this past Wednesday, it was very important that I read the book to the two of them together. (No worries about ADD with this one – she’s not yet 4, and her idea of a good time is reading a 70 page picture book from cover to cover.)
At one point in the story, Pa Pig wakes up, spots 3 gorillas riding in a car shaped like a banana, and declares, “I think the next car we buy will be a bananamobile.” So I asked the two of them if they thought they might like a bananamobile. Her friend said no, and remembering an earlier picture, suggested that he would prefer a crocodile car. My child then said simply, “I like the car we have.”
While not the whimsical reply I was looking for, it was, in retrospect, no surprise. This is the same child who cannot be persuaded by her teachers to tell them what she wants for Christmas – who when meeting Santa himself wanted only to wish him a Merry Christmas. Not that she wasn’t excited to open presents on Christmas morning. She just wasn’t too invested on the front end about what they might be.
I myself have a terrific problem with coveting. It is enemy number one in my spiritual life. Whether this is due to genetics, upbringing, media inundation, or demon possession I really cannot venture to guess, but somehow it has not infected my daughter. She wants what she wants because she wants it – whether it is for Mommy to stay home instead of going out on a date with Daddy, or for us not to have run out of bananas – she does not want what she wants because someone else has it, or because someone has told her she should want it. Praise God!
My husband is very much the same way. He doesn’t need the newest gadget (which is a very big deal, given that he makes his living in the software industry – so he is out of step with many of his peers in this regard.) He is content with what he has, and when he is not, it is usually because of some edifying reason. He appears to be persuaded that the grass is greener on his side of the fence, or at least it is as green as his neighbor’s, or in any case it is his grass, and that makes it the grass he wants. Perhaps grass is a poor analogy, on second thought. Our yard may be the least satisfactory thing in his life. But point is, he’s as far as I can tell not much of a coveter. Praise God!
I’m not sure what it says about me that I can praise God about my husband and daughter’s contentment, rather than covet it – does this mean that I am getting better, or that I am so far gone that I do not even desire to stop coveting?
So – if you “just don’t get” yesterday’s post, it could be that you are more like my husband and my daughter than like myself, at least insofar as coveting is not your chief spiritual stumbling block. Yesterday’s post was an exercise in, if not removing, then at least identifying the beam in my own eye. If it spoke to you then congratulations, I guess – or maybe, good luck – or even, my condolences. If not, then maybe that one wasn’t meant for you. Praise God!