My electronic happy meals

I’ve been struggling lately with feeling contentment with my life. One of the more obvious ways this manifests itself is in how I buy electronics gear. I can purchase a shiny new camera, not even have it out of the box, and already be researching if there’s a better camera out there I should have bought. When behavior like this creeps into your life, well, it’s not happy-fun-time.

So today I was reading various articles and thoughts regarding contentment, and ran across these sermon notes. Two paragraphs struck me so strongly, I’m going to blockquote them here. No explanation necessary, and emphasis is mine.

Now, believe it or not, you can get a Happy Meal in the morning. Imagine that…you can buy Happy Meals for breakfast. In this Happy Meal is a Tonka bulldozer. It’s amazing when I think of Happy Meals and coveting things and the society that we live in, we really struggle with wanting. We see this in ourselves and in our children all the time. I have not heard of anybody who’s ever come up to Mom and Dad and said, “Dad, I remember the day that I was at McDonald’s and you bought me that Happy Meal and it changed my life forever.” I haven’t heard of anybody doing that, but that’s kind of the absurdness we see going on.

Ortberg makes two observations about Happy Meals. The first one says, “Only a kid would be so naive as to think that contentment could be acquired through some kind of external acquisition. Only someone very young would have a high enough stupid quotient to believe that lasting happiness could come by a change in external circumstances. Right?” Then he concludes by saying, “The truth about human beings is that as we grow up, we don’t get any smarter; our Happy Meals just keep getting more expensive.” I think he’s right. That’s what we struggle with in coveting.

—Dec 06, 2004