I was listening to NPR on the way to the bank this morning when I heard something very interesting. The newest target audience in the world of cosmetics marketing are Indian men. The country of India has a population of 1 billion, half of which are male. So what, you may ask, is the cosmetic product that marketers are targeting towards men in India? It's skin lightening cream. Evidently, this had been a desire for Indian women for years and now Indian men are getting into the act of wanting their skin to be less brown. Now before we hear this and make a joke about Michael Jackson, think about the fact that Americans spend hundreds of thousands (maybe even millions) of dollars per year trying to look darker. Whether it's tanning beds, tanning lotions or just a good old fashioned sun burn, Americans will go to great lengths to change their skin color as well. Skin isn't the only thing we desire to change either. For years I've joked about how women who have straight hair pay money to make their hair curly and women with curly hair use irons and special products to straighten theirs out. I won't even get into what we do for different color hair or what men do who are losing their hair (can anyone say comb over?).
It seems like all of us humans, whether we are American, Indian, male or female, suffer from the same disease. We want what we don't have. Of course this goes well beyond skin color and type of hair. We can be completely satisfied with our house until we visit a home that's bigger and newer. Suddenly our home feels old and out of date. We can't enjoy the job we have now, because we are busy dreaming about how good things will be when we get a promotion. When we were in high school we couldn't wait to be in college, and when we were in college we couldn't wait to be done with school forever, and now that we are out of school and paying the bills we reminisce about how great and care free high school and college were.
The book of James says, "Be patient, then, brothers, until the Lord's coming." I think we would all do well to remember that this life is not all there is. If you think you are too dark or not dark enough it's only a temporary condition. That bigger house you want probably has more issues than you realize, and even if you lived there it wouldn't be your permanent home. I believe we should always be striving to be better, know more, and go farther, but I also believe there are situations that it would help us to just be content. Be patient, just be patient.