28 October 2005 10:37
My wife and I drove past a rather nasty local pub recently. “I wish they’d
bulldoze it,” she sighed. “It’s horrible.” Three hours later, it had burned
to the ground. No one was hurt – and, thankfully, my wife had an alibi.
This week, Alex McKie made the headlines (in the Independent, at least) by
inviting us all to make three wishes. She set up the ‘Three Wishes Project’
in memory of her late sister, and has been travelling the country to
discover what’s on our hearts. Her only instructions are: (1) Wish for
yourself (even if you also wish well for others), (2) follow your heart’s
desire (your head may mislead you) and (3) be specific and definite (you’re
more likely to notice when your wish has come true – or if, indeed, it
already has). Many people use their first wish to give them limitless
powers (we’ve all done it), but McKie is hoping to generate more realistic
dreams which, she believes, we’ll begin to fulfil once we verbalise them.
Many replies have been moving and revealing.’To find a man who makes me
laugh and start a family with him; to do my job the best I can always; to be
happy’ says a lady, 29, from the south-west. ‘A
house in Glastonbury; a gentle death; a clear, incremental decrease in
materialism’ suggests a man, 48, from the south-east. Another woman sums up
how many of us perhaps feel: ‘to be in a romantic, loving relationship; to
be fulfilled in my job; to identify the skills that I really have and
develop them to their full potential’.
There’s a fine line, surely, between wishing and praying. And not all our
wishes or prayers are necessarily well motivated. The Bible warns us
frequently to flee our ‘evil desires’ (2 Timothy 2.22; Colossians 3.5). Yet
Psalm 37 declares: ‘Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the
desires of your heart.’ God is no genie, thankfully. But if we seek what he
wants first, we’ll have a better idea, surely, of what we should wish for
ourselves and for others. McKie’s question remains a good one, nevertheless.
If you did have three wishes, what would they be? You can’t do much about
them until you know…
In the meantime, however, a gentle word from my wife: be careful what you