I was playing with a funny little gadget the other day – a robotic inchworm. It’s small and doesn’t move very fast. When you push the button it stretches out and when you release the button it contracts. Pretty simple and kind of fun, as long as you aren’t in a hurry. The only way to make it advance is to repeatedly press and release the button. If you hold the button too long it won’t move any further and the motor will burn out.
It seems a bit like my life. I make progress, but oh so very slowly. I’m constantly alternating between being anxiously engaged in a good cause and trying not to run faster than I have strength. I know that if I don’t push myself I’ll never accomplish anything, but if I push too hard for too long I’ll burn out just like a robot inchworm. It’s a tricky balance to maintain and I wish I were better at it.
I’ve been looking for a good mirascope for quite a while now and I finally got one for Christmas. If you’ve never seen one of these, you are definitely missing out. A mirascope is a set of parabolic mirrors with a hole cut into the center of one mirror. When an object is placed inside the mirascope the reflected light rays create a perfect hologram of the object. It looks so real that I instinctively try to grab the object even though I know it’s an illusion.
It’s a bit like worldly possessions. Society continually tells us that we’ll be happy if we just had more money or the latest electronic gadget or maybe a quick cruise in the Bahamas. Now there is nothing wrong with any of those things (but if you’re worried you can send me your cruise tickets and I’ll take care of them for you). The problems arise when we set our hearts on those things hoping that they will bring us lasting happiness.
I’m blessed to have a great job and I work hard to provide for my family. We always seem to have enough for our needs and for that I’m very grateful. The tricky part is that even though our needs are taken care of, there are always so many wants that don’t quite make it into the budget. And just like the mirascope, even though I know all of those things are just an illusion, I find myself reaching for them anyways.