“Sshhhhh!” hisses my daughter. “No singing!”
Well, if you want to call it that.
I’m wailing, “Who caaares. No big deaaal. I want mooore!” with Disney’s Little Mermaid as we hurtle down the highway. My daughter doesn’t approve of my can’t-beat-’em-join-’em method of coping with playback number three of this CD in one week.
entertains my child minimizes the whining from the back seat so that I don’t sell my soul during transport. Nevertheless, one can only purchase so many children’s CDs before their incessant chirpiness must be replayed.
Or can one? Amazon lists 70,389 children’s CDs.
I Want More
Disney renders a rather materialist mermaid. She sings, “Look at this stuff. Isn’t it neat? Wouldn’t ya think my collection’s complete? Wouldn’t ya think I’m the girl, the girl who has everything?” All this stuff notwithstanding, she still confesses, “I want more!”
Ariel is definitely an American mermaid, not because she wants more but because she gets it. She defies her father, sells her voice for a pair of feet, wins her human prince, and after a scuffle with the sea witch regains her voice and her father’s blessing, not to mention kills the witch and establishes world peace.
I feel cheated. Where’s my siren song? Where’s my prince? (No offense, Dear.) Where’s my internationally acclaimed victory over evil? How can I stand on my own two feet if I’m stuck with this tail?
Disney’s bald depiction points out my own recent wrestling match with entitlement. I’ve drunk the Kool-Aid. What is happening to me?
I’m a missionary kid. I grew up in the country at the bottom of the UN’s Misery Index. Now, American water runs out of my tap. Every day. Cold and hot. All potable. But who cares? No big deal? I want more?
Where did I learn such discontent?
I Don’t Have Enough
Acclaimed author and speaker Brené Brown suggests I have drunk a scarcity potion. She cites Lynne Twist, concluding: “Addressing scarcity doesn’t mean searching for abundance, but rather choosing a mind-set of sufficiency.” The antidote to these messages of scarcity is gratitude and celebrating the ordinary.
This doesn’t mean faking feelings of gratitude. It means practicing gratitude, turning fear of insufficiency into words of thanks.
I Want My (Fairy) Tail Back
Hans Christian Andersen’s original Little Mermaid (1837) is just as discontent with her wealth—she’s given eight oysters on her fifteenth birthday, while commoners are only allowed six. She wants more, too: the human prince and an immortal soul. She sells her voice, shuns her family, bleeds from her feet every time she walks, but the prince marries someone else anyway. The little mermaid dissolves into sea foam and her family is heart-broken.
Disney’s moral: If you long for more and you smack down a sea witch, you can have more. Andersen’s moral: Covetousness does lead to more. More unhappiness.
Apparently, the only way to win (back) my immortal soul is not salvation by success, but by “raising my voice in a regular thank offering.” According to the original fish-man, defying the Father doesn’t raise me out of the sea of my discontent. “Deliverance belongs to the Lord” (Jonah 2:9).