We live in a society mesmerized with quick fixes. We want everything quick and fast and we groan every time we’re asked to wait for something. We’re not used to taking anything slow. The world today has given us many opportunities to get everything we want when we want it as quickly as we want it. We have lost the beautiful art of waiting for anything worth having and we constantly wonder why consuming more actually leaves us empty?
As a child, my mother trained my siblings and I to wait. She would take us with her wherever she went and we were tasked to entertain ourselves without a single complaint.
It was in those moments waiting for her that I discovered the joy in reading, often taking three to four books with me to be safe. My mother didn’t believe in being bored. She didn’t find ways to entertain ourselves at home, we were expected to be productive even if we were just confined in the four walls of our home. So my brother and I learned to use our imagination rather wisely. We also didn’t have our own phones until we were in high school and didn’t have our own computer with a proper Internet connection until I was in college. We learned to value our time without wasting away in front of the computer. But of course, as the years progressed, we are now given more freedom to spend more time in front of our computer screens and our smart phones. My work requires me to be online 24/7 and I must constantly be updated. Seeing my friends no longer required driving and actually seeing each other, a simple message on Viber (or Blumr!) would be sufficient to update each other and while it’s convenient, it doesn’t beat real interaction.
We live double lives. We make sure everything is posted, uploaded, liked, or swiped right (or left). I once met a guy who once said he found joy when he “matched” with someone on a highly famous (infamous?) dating app and I don’t judge him for it. When you’re brokenhearted, feeling rejected, or in need for a boost out of boredom, it’s easier to go on an app with over 2,000,000 users and relish in the compliments of strangers rather than actually sit down and deal with what’s truly bothering us on the inside.
I speak about this because just recently, I too was lured by quick fixes. In today’s fast and easy society, there are a lot of quick fixes offered: food, clubs, parties, friendships, and yes false relationships. When life disappoints us, we tend to run away. Instead of facing the reality of our situation, we have the tendency to place blame (a common quick fix) or just cover up the situation by going into something new. We fall into the thrill of new beginnings without realizing that once the euphoria of something new and shiny fades away, we’re back all alone in our bedrooms, the monsters slowly creeping back in. We can get all the Band-Aids in the world but a wound doesn’t heal unless we see the reality of the pain and let it hurt first.
Before going on my one month sabbatical, an officemate of mine warned me to not use my vacation as a band-aid, instead she encouraged me to use the time to look inside and heal internally in ways that the external shiny things could not. And slowly but surely, the days, empty of routine and busy work schedules, was filled with exploration, tears, and thankfully, healing. I have been quick-fixing my life for a time but this time, God gave me the strength to go beyond the temporary happiness in the hopes of finding a lasting one.
And the journey, though extremely painful, has been fulfilling. And my wish for you today is for you to go beyond your quick fixes and find joy in last things, in the things not of the world but in the things that would truly make you whole.
* * *