December 12, 2009 10:20:00 PM
Adele Elliott - [email protected]
This is the time of year to dream of wishes fulfilled. We are making our lists for Santa, or for whomever is our personal giver of gifts. Most requests, I suppose, are reasonable. Some may ask for a gift that sparkles, or one that hums, or perhaps even one with four legs and a tail that wags. Green is always good, whether it means environmentally beneficial, or the sort of green that folds neatly into a pocket.
A few people look at the big picture. They may long for world peace or a decrease in unemployment stats. These are really impressive desires; impossible perhaps, but noble enough to rate top-of-the-list status.
I wonder how it would feel to have nothing to wish for? Tiger Woods is worth a billion dollars, a figure that is hard to comprehend. He can have anything on the planet that he desires. Top that off with a gorgeous, blonde model-wife and healthy children. Well, what else is there? Evidently, much more.
I keep thinking of Whitney Houston. She had it all -- extreme beauty, boundless talent and a family in show business to open doors for her. Once again, not enough. It all went up in the smoke of a crack pipe.
These days, everyone is pulling for her. Much is hyped about how healthy she looks, her "come back," changes in her personal life. All are reasons to send support and good cheer. But, her loveliness has hardened. She appears haggard. Some damage can never be repaired.
This column is not about morals. It is not about judgment or condemnation. I only wonder why "everything" is seldom enough.
We''ve all known the poor-little-rich-girl (or boy). One who tries classes, or exotic travel, or romances, and still never seems happy.
They may dabble in business, or art or volunteerism. Always the dilettante, never the expert.
Maybe, what we all need is something to wish for -- a deep desire that is attainable, but with difficulty. Could it be that wishes granted only have value when paired with some sacrifice?
Of course, Tiger Woods made many sacrifices to reach his status. Whitney Houston, too, probably spent long hours rehearsing. But, once there, then what? This might be the time to set new goals, instead of looking for new thrills.
It''s hard not to think of the Bill Gates and Warren Buffett types in the world. They reached the top in one field, made vast amounts of money, and then redirected their attention (not to mention personal assets) into philanthropy. My guess is that they sleep well and have little desire for drugs.
I see nothing wrong with asking Santa for an expensive trinket, but only if we remember that baubles offer temporary gratification. Real joy comes from "things" that are more profound.
Contributions of time or service have meaning (along with a little "green"), especially if there is something really valuable being given up. It is said that a gift should have a bit of remorse in the giving.
Adopting a shelter-pet means many years of commitment, but the rewards are wonderful.
So, in this season of generosity it might be a good idea to think of what we can give to our fellow humans and to our friends with fur and feathers. Because receiving, alone, may just not be "enough."
I hope you all attain your heart''s desire, and help make someone else''s dreams come true. Isn''t that everything we could wish for?
Adele Elliott, a New Orleans native, moved to Columbus after Hurricane Katrina.