There are days when I can’t remember what I walked into my garage to get, I forget to take my daily medication and cannot recall the pin number to my debit card. Before you wonder if I am suffering from early onset Alzheimer’s disease, let me just say I AM able to recount something that happened every year from kindergarten through twelfth grade, recite my phone number from when I was five and tell you what I received for my thirteenth birthday. I simply have no idea why I forget important things yet remember trivial events and useless information!
One frivolous recollection has to do with something I wanted so badly in the sixth grade…an Izod windbreaker jacket. All the cool kids were wearing one. I imagined myself stepping off the bus and walking into school in movie-like fashion. I envisioned the scene would be in slow motion and everyone would stop and stare as the crowd parted like the Red Sea and my nylon hood waved in the breeze as I walked by – leaving a waft of increased coolness in my wake. For weeks I dreamed of having an Izod windbreaker of my own. It was the only thing I could think about. It was all my eleven-year-old self wanted and longed for and it’s the one thing I really remember about my sixth-grade year!
My desires have changed since 1983 and I’ve forgotten most of them, but that feeling of want and longing has lingered in my heart like a stray cat at the back door. I honestly don’t think we ever outgrow a longing for that 'one thing' - it’s just that the “one thing” changes as we get older. We wanted that one degree, that one job and then we wanted to marry that one person but, shortly after marriage, we started focusing on that one thing we wish our spouse did differently, that one quality we wish they possessed, and we long for them to stop doing that one thing we chose to overlook.
It’s a trick that’s been around since the beginning of time. It was exposed in the Garden of Eden when the serpent slithered up to Eve and got her to focus on that “one tree” she and Adam weren’t supposed to eat from. Instead of looking at the thousands of other trees that WERE available, she was distracted by that “one thing” she wasn’t allowed to touch. Her distraction gave way to full-blown deception that didn’t just affect her, it affected her marriage and all of mankind. Eve was the first, but she certainly isn’t the last.
The truth is we all struggle at different times and to varying degrees with that 'one thing' we want, or wish were different about our spouse or marriage. But when we get all consumed and caught up in it – when we are so distracted that we can’t focus on the plethora of positives or bounty of blessings we DO have - we become discontent, dissatisfied, depressed and downright miserable. Instead, we must shift our focus to the only 'One' who can meet our every need and satisfy every longing. Focusing on God's goodness enables us to experience contentment and happiness in life and marriage…and if you forget everything else I just wrote, I do hope you remember that 'one thing.'
“You open your hand and satisfy the desires of every living thing.” Psalm 146:16