When I was in grade school I wanted to be either be an actress or a teacher. In high school my aspirations moved away from actress and more toward being a nun or mother of eight children.
I am neither nun or mother of eight…thank the good Lord. But I do teach now and then and that feels right. And every day I put on some show or another for my two children and that feels right too.
When You Can’t Always Get What You Want by the Stones comes on the car radio I cease all chatter both in my head and amongst my children. I crank the dial so high my eight year old daughter shouts from the back seat, Mama, turn it down please.
Oh, if she only knew how lucky she was, my mom blared John Denver and swears he got her through her divorce from my father. At the time I was embarrassed that John Denver’s music filled our car and home. Now of course I think how cool it is that this artist helped my mom get through a rough time. A time she didn’t want, but needed.
Now the Rolling Stones aren’t seeing my way through a rough time, but a time of change and transition, self awareness and discovery.
So when I hear Mick sing those words, You Can’t Always Get What You Want, but rather we get what we need, I am at peace.
Yes, I am so aware of the popular language these days and the power of positive imagery to get what we want. But is that what it is all about? Isn’t it really more about what I need? Which yes, my needs stem from the deep desires of my heart but we can muck it all up with listening to outside expectations instead of the true center within where it matters most. For what we need in the end, I do believe is indeed what we want, we just don’t always know it at the time.
In wanting to be an actress I wanted to be seen. In wanting to be a teacher I wanted to make a difference. Through the brief mind lapse of wanting to be a nun or mother of eight, I was seeking connection, both with God, community and myself.
So if you find you aren’t getting what you want, sing to the top of your lungs with the car radio and you just might find…you’ll get what you need.
by J.G. McGlothern