This week, our family spent a few hours at the beach. As we made our way to the sand, a woman was entertaining those on the boardwalk, singing lyrics from The Rolling Stones:
“You can’t always get what you want
But if you try sometimes you just might find
You just might find
You get what you need.…”
Her voice wasn’t melodic. But she was passionate. Exuberant. Raspy and intriguing. I approached the woman and she explained that her singing supports those impacted by domestic violence. And in between each song, she reminded her listeners to be grateful for today. Aligned with lyrics by The Rolling Stones, she was asking listeners to see today as an opening in finding what you need. That today might be an answer you weren’t necessarily considering.
Daily, we concentrate on what we want. Mixing up wants with needs. Do we need more material things, or do we want more material things? Do we need more recognition, or do we want more recognition? Do we need to go away on vacation, or do we want to go away on vacation? Differentiating wants and needs doesn’t negate the importance of a “want.” A “want” may enhance one’s quality of life. But a need is defined as something we cannot live without. Something essential.
Identifying one’s needs may lead to a more nuanced appreciation of the wants. What do you really need?
Jewish practice encourages such reflection. Each morning, we rub the slumber from our eyes and offer blessings, thank our Creator for the ability to wake up, meet the day with renewed vigor, and see the day as a gift. Blessings that shape “today” as an opportunity not to waste.
As you wake up and contemplate your wants, start with today. Thank God for today. You may find that in that recognition, today is exactly what you need.
An answer worth accepting.
In partnership with The Jewish Journal, you can also find Rabbi Guzik’s blog post HERE.