A few weeks back I was visiting my pal Lori, as y'all know, which meant that I was also visiting her kiddos, one of whom is Ziah, who is 4-years-old. One day I was hanging out with Ziah and he reeeeeeeeeaaaaaaallllllllyyyyyyy wanted something. It was, like, a cup of yogurt. Or one of his superhero action figures. Or a racing car. Something like that. And the thing wasn't available to him at the time for some reason. His sister was playing with it. Or it was in the wash. Or there weren't any left. And he was reeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeaaaaaaaaaaaallllllllllllllyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy upset about this. He wanted the thing so much! He was crying and saying how much he wanted it and begging for it.
I was watching him, really feeling the dilemma he was in, wishing he could have the thing and also seeing how it just wasn't in the cards right then. Time passed. Circumstances changed. The thing became available and he was given the thing and he was happy!
Time passed again. And when I say "time passed" I mean that four minutes went by. He became interested in some other thing and played with it. After a minute, thinking maybe it hadn't sunk in that it was actually available now, I offered him the thing again that he'd originally wanted. And he was like, "meh." No light shone in his eyes for that thing. It was over. It was so five minutes ago. And that was that.
And that, friends, is what the Buddha was talking about. Figuring out how to live with equanimity when you are a being that has multiple, often contradictory, ever changing desires.
Right now I'm in Indiana, visiting my storage unit where most of my possessions have been stored lo these many years. I'm staying with friends of my parents from way back in the day. Like, I used to play in this home 30 years ago. Their son was my buddy and their daughter was older than me and I thought she was so pretty. I haven't been in this home since or had a conversation with these people since. But they took me in, wayfaring stranger that I am in this town.
Tonight was their son's 39th birthday, the one I used to play with when we were first graders. He came over with his wife and two kids and we all had dinner together. At dinner, his 4-year-old son said the prayer, and the prayer was this: "Dear God. Um....I love you. And help us to like this food. And if we hate this food, help us to have a napkin so we can put the food in it. That would be good. And, amen."
The theology I take from that is: Dear Benevolent Force: Lead us in paths that will bring us good things. But if the paths bring us shitty things, help us to find an escape hatch.
Which, yep, amen.