I’ve been thinking a lot about ‘Want’ lately.

The most frequent definition is similar to Merriam-Webster 1. To be needy or destitute.  2.  To have or feel need. says it is – to desire greatly; wish for. goes a little further and says ‘Want refers to what you absolutely have to have and ‘need’ refers to something that you don’t really lust for – but you just need it. says – DESIRE is when you want something you can’t have.  WANT is when you don’t need it but you get it anyways.

I always thought that reaching a point where one says, ‘I want nothing’ was a sign of happiness, an expression of gratitude.  I don’t think it means you have everything you could want, it just means that you are grateful and appreciative for what you have.  I disagree with M-W that WANT means being needy or destitute and agree whole heartedly with the second part – To have or feel need.

There are many, perhaps too many, in this day of materialism who WANT, not because of need, unless you count the need to possess as much as possible.

I think there is a much more positive side to WANT.  Because of want we set goals and move ourselves and society forward.  Want is not always about self, but the accomplished goal is indeed personal.  WANT is an acknowledgement and from there comes our plan, our goal.

This is a very narrow positive because wanting and not receiving affects us.  So then what happens?

We can accept the ‘not having’, we can I suppose change the WANT, although if the wanting is part of our need it is not easy to give up.  Some who WANT change nothing and live, I believe, half a life never being able to get past that thing and move on.  These are the bitterest lives immersed in anger and every form of negativity.

There are special people out there who WANT and accept the not having and chose to live in joy.


This weekend a young man died.  I only met him a couple of times but my sister was a friend.  He was born on the other side of the world in a country where his mother had to hide him so he would not be killed.  Eventually they came to live in Canada, where despite my occasional groans about politics and institution is an excellent place to live.

Here he was loved by many.
Every day he went out about the town in his electric wheelchair.  Malls were one of his favorite spots to hang out where he cheered so many with his smile and laugh.  He loved people and they in turn loved him.

In the summer he loved to go to a local park where he got out of his wheelchair and sat by the lake on a rock.  Just like everyone else.  He had wants and was never embittered by them.  He had joy for others and his want was a dream that could not be allowed on this plane of life.

It was just a few days ago when he spoke, as well as he could speak, and he told her that when he got to heaven someday  he would be able to walk, would be able to run and jump.  And his belief gave him joy.

He never resented others for what they had, he was just happy for them.

He died, this man loved by so many, somehow falling or rolling from the rock into that lake and drowning.  And as my sister spoke of him yesterday she softly said, ‘He just wanted to be normal.’

And for a time I thought of WANT and the people whose lives are ruined by it and I thought of people like this man who in the ‘not having’ enriched everyone else’s life. And I blushed through my tears as I drove home, ashamed that my Wants have at times been negatively flavored and I found a gratitude and overwhelming joy at what I do have, and found myself wondering what I can do to enrich other lives.

You see I met this man perhaps twice and if this is the impact he had on me you have some idea of others and the value of their tears.


5 thoughts on “IS WANT DESIRABLE?”

  1. What a wonderful character,Chris. His life must have enriched all around him.

    You are right: want is a complex thing. For all of us are motivated by something, and without that motivaton we become depressed and there does not seem any point in life. I suppose, as you say, we must ensure our wants are simple. It’s hard in his materialistic world to avoid want turning into avarice and envy.

  2. I am sorry for your lost.

    I like the way you define want as relating to hope. I think want, just like everything else, can be a bad thing when it is overused. If our wants are constant and too numerous to count that is greedy and can lead to a never ending cycly of unhappiness. But wants that relate to us having better quality of life and better relationships are good. Wants that are in balance with our gratitudes are also good.

  3. How sad for the world and community to lose such a thoughtful man. Happiness that he can be in Heaven where he can be healed and comforted. Lovely and thoughtful story. God bless

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