The Culture of Dissatisfaction
by Jonathan Hart, LPC
My truck is not what I want it to be. It is not new, big, heavy, or powerful. Its barely worthy of the title “truck”. My house is’t the greatest, either. There are a lot of ongoing repairs or refurbishments that need to happen… sometime. My computers are old and somewhat slow. My hair is starting to turn grey, and if i’m totally honest, there isn’t as much of it as there used to be.
Something in our culture disposes me to see things in this way. The ads with which we are saturated in video and print and pixels paint a world that is in desperate need of repair. This I affirm. But the ads stray into falsehood thereafter. Universally, ads point to a fix. “If you have this item, pill, procedure, or experience, you will be satisfied.” They hint (but never say out loud) that the product they offer will be enough forever. They, and we, know different. But we are buying what they are selling.
The truth is that even millions in the bank, a rich family life, and all the possessions and stuff that we could ask for are not going to be enough… for long. All things (people included) age and decay. All things (people included) break down and die. We rightly and achingly long for something more.
Part of living well in this world is, to quote the Man in Black from “the Princess Bride”, “Get used to disappointment”. Well, not exactly, but close.
The fact is that the things and experiences of this life cannot permanently or consistently satisfy us. Good comes and goes. Peace comes and goes. Contentment comes and goes. We run into trouble when we try to make these things “normal” and view anything else as sub-par or defective, when we make these temporary things more important than they really are. We run into trouble when we depend on them to give us the one thing they absolutely cannot: satisfaction.
My truck is dependable, for now. My computer is enough to do what I need it to, for the moment. My family life is really good, at the moment. My house keeps me and my family warm and dry. All of these thing will wax and wane. There is no ultimate fix that can be had for love or money in this world.
Our hunger for more is good. Our awareness of lack and need is actually something to hold on to and allow for rather than trying to fill it up or soothe it. It points us to the something more that is intangible, and to the only thing that will truly, ultimately satisfy: it is our longing for heaven and the perfect eternity that God has for his children.