Monday, October 27, 2008

You Can't Always Get What You Want

David wanted to build the temple when he was king of the Israel. He was a great military leader of his people and for the most part did many good things because he followed the path God laid out for him. However, the Lord did not permit David to build the temple because he had too much blood on his hands. It was not his role. It was not his place. He was a great man, but that didn't matter. It wasn't for him.

Now, I'm not sure of how David felt about that. Coming to grips with the concept that not everything was up for grabs. He faced the consequences to that when he sent a man to his death in order to take that man's wife as his own.

The fact is that in our lives, there are things that are off limits. Not because it's bad necessarily, but rather its not meant for us. We cannot take everything we want. We cannot pretend that we can. Some things are meant for others.

I was talking to my friend, Aaron, about the nature of mankind and some of the gruesome, terrible things that we as humans are capable of doing simply because there is a lingering dark, selfish side that is there. It's undeniable. Some of the greatest works of the arts and literature comes from a place of recognizing that darkness inside of the human soul. As Aaron said to me, these pieces of art are so shockingly truthful because it taps into something inside of us that we try to pretend is not there. It unnerves us and disturbs us. Although I think it is important to recognize that evil inside, it is also important to strive and fight with all our strength, through the grace of God, against that darkness. Against the evil selfishness that creeps into our psyche. It comes down once again to remembering our place in the world. It is about God and others first. That is the ideal that we push and strive for. We need to have this idea of the good of the community foremost in our goals, because if we are too individualistic, too self-focused, then we will start to think our role and place is more important. We will believe we deserve things when it is not necessarily our place to make that call. We will begin to ascribe that self-service trumps upholding a communal reciprocity. If we dwell on ourselves, we will not only potentially destroy ourselves in some form, whether it be physically, mentally, or spiritually, it can bring harm to others. We need to know our role.

That all being said, it is tough when you come to the realization that we cannot take whatever we want. It kind of hurts knowing that something would be nice and comforting, but also knowing that it is not for you. That something is for someone else. Solomon was supposed to build the temple because he was a man of peace. As much as David may have wanted to and perhaps even deserved on a human level, it was not for him.

It is just tough to accept that we cannot change everything. Sometimes life is the way it is and that is that. And although we cannot change everything in the world, we can always try to change ourselves more into the person that we are meant to be. It's just too bad that that is easier said than done.

"I love myself better than you
I know it's wrong so what should I do?"
- "On a Plain" from Nirvana's Nevermind