When my son was young, and I’d tell him it was time to put his GI Joe toys away and head up to bed at the end of the day, he’d stop his play, turn toward me, point his small toddler finger toward the sky, and giving me an innocent glimmer with his dark brown eyes respond in his little-man voice, “One more daddy. One more.”
My heart melted like ice scream as I brushed his baseball cap with my hand. Typically I’d give in to his childlike plea, offering him just a few more minutes to finish saving the world with his heroic friends.
After five to ten minutes he’d look back up at me, grin, and let me know he was ready for bed. His mission had been accomplished. Then we’d head up the stairs hand-in-hand so he could say his prayers and I could tuck him in.
Day was done.
He and the world were safe again.
As I reflect back on those days, I notice my adult heart is much like my son’s: I often want more. One more.
No matter how much with which I’m blessed, I expect another good thing to be just around the corner. I yearn for something I can’t quite put my finger on.
Why is that, I wonder?
Why do we miss the contentment, the peace of this present moment often hoping for something bigger, better, or at least different than what we have now? Something more.
I suppose the stereotypical answers would be that we fail in being grateful for what we have; we’re trying to self-medicate; or we have a competitive spirit that strives to excel so we can feel important.
And while those answers may contain some truth, I believe there’s a deeper, much more positive, balanced quality to our desire for more:
Our desire for more is purely hope; the hope breathed into our soul at the moment of conception.
Hope means we want something to happen or be true and think that it could happen or be true. Hope is filled with innocence and love. Hope trusts that good will come out of hardship and overcome evil if we have the faith to persevere, to keep moving forward even if we’re not sure where we’re going or how life is unfolding.
My son hoped I’d give him a few more moments to finish playing with his GI Joe toys. He wanted to accomplish his mission trusting that he and his toy soldiers had the power to keep the world safe. It was his quest he hoped to complete before he went to bed.
We hope that the love we’ve found in our friends and families will never end. That when we feel lonely or sad we’ll find the one person—even if it’s ourselves—who’ll lift us up and help us find our hope again.
We hope we’ll be secure; that we’ll have enough food, shelter and water to protect our loved ones and ourselves.
We hope our lives will have meaning—that what we do with our life will somehow leave a trace of love upon those with whom we connect.
Perhaps wanting more is not necessarily a bad thing; rather it’s a heart thing.
It keeps love alive within us, invites us to dig deeper, live stronger, and be exactly who we were fashioned to be: co-creators with the divine reality, co-creating with God.
From this perspective, the ache we feel in our hearts to be more, find more, love more is simply the Chariots-of-Fire power that lives and breathes within each of us, and if we can name it and trust it, hope will lead us to love. And more love.