“Now when I win the lottery I will...” Did you ever have that lovely flight of fancy? Haven’t we all, even folks like me who never buy a lottery ticket!
A friend recently sent me an provocative little novel in French entitled “La liste de mes
Envies” which can be loosely translated as “My Wish List”. It has an intriguing plot
centering around a small shop owner in France who wins the lottery to the tune of
some 18 million euros and who makes her wish list, unbeknownst to her husband or
family. She claims the money but then begins to realize that cashing that check is
going to change everything in her life.
She fears undermining her husband’s self-confidence as he works for a promotion at
work, she fears giving her adult children too much too soon, she fears what all that
money might do to her own wants. When do needs become wants and vice versa?
When a novel begins with the words: “We all lie to ourselves” , then the reader knows
the story will not be simple. Even keeping the uncashed check hidden in an old
shoe doesn’t decrease the mental list she keeps making. This list changes as the days
go by, but it upends her thinking. She takes the old shoe into the bathroom late at night
when the household is asleep to reexamine the reality of those numbers, down to the
And when she discovers that her husband has found the windfall and abandoned her to
fulfill his dreams without her, she has to stop to examine her lies. What has real value in
When was the last time that I honestly considered the problem that confronts
Jocelyne in the novel – trying to distinguish needs from wants? In our world of
abundant advertising the lines get very blurred. We have all been stirred to buy based
on an ad, I know.
Jesus came to stir up desires too, but in a rather different realm. He urged us to meet
each other’s needs. He invites us to bring our wants to him, but he certainly didn’t
mean that fairy-tale list we have created. Jesus was so real, so much a part of this
world that we can hear his voice when he says to a petitioner, “What do you want me to
do for you?”
Without the lottery check, let’s give that some thought today.