Why Wanting Something Does not Amount to Anything

Sometimes people do really selfish things. From what I have observed some people do selfish things a lot. Do you ever wonder why? I do. As a matter of fact I found myself wondering this today.

As I write this I am on a family vacation in Hawaii (actually on Hawaii, the Big Island.) Today we made the over two hour drive to Volcanoes National Park to tour the Kilauea crater. Awesome. On the way back to our condo we stopped off at Punaluu, a beautiful black sand beach that is known for the sea turtles that sun bathe on the sand. Sea turtles are a protected species and the law says that they must be “observed from a distance.” As the turtles are common at Punaluu, signs are posted making this law perfectly clear. Well, perfectly clear to me. This apparently was not perfectly clear to the tourists who arrived before us, as they were all taking turns posing for pictures with two turtles situated on the beach. They were kneeling right next to the turtles, just inches away. I found myself asking, “Why?”

The best answer I can come up with is, “Because they wanted to.” That's it. They knew the law, knew the turtles were protected, but in that moment what mattered more was that they wanted to be near turtles and wanted that photograph. When push came to shove what they desired, what they wanted, was all that mattered.

It is easy to wag our fingers and criticize these people for the buffoons they were at that moment, but I think this character flaw is more widespread then we care to admit. How often do we ignore what is right or best because we don't feel like it, or because we just want to do things our own way?

We want time to ourselves, so we blow off our children. We have had a hard week and we want rest, so we skip church. We want to pay less in taxes, so we fudge a little on business expenses. We want to see a movie because it's popular, so we ignore the fact that the content is immoral and objectionable. We want...

Seems like wanting something is not a very good way to decide how to act. Just ask a turtle.

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