What to Want

By Anna Von Reitz

There are people all over the world asking me what I want?  

They ask me what I want, and they sit back in their chairs like the audience in a movie theater at the end of the opening credits, waiting for the real show to begin, but no answer comes.  

Oh, I mean, it’s clear that they are waiting for something either like a personal laundry list of the kind, “A new BMW, a winter home in a large safe compound on the French Riviera, the restoration of my family castle in Italy, an annual income of at least $100 million for my retirement……”  or, else, something vacuous and vague and idealistic, like, “World peace.” 

And always underlying this expectation, appears to be the taken-for-granted idea that there has to be some agenda, some reason, some selfish personal motivation behind what I do, and if I just tell them what that is, they will (a) be able to figure out what makes me tick, and (b) evaluate whether they can or will provide whatever it is I want, and (c) potentially secure my assistance by giving me what I want— also known as, buy me off.  

That is, after all, as they make clear, the quid pro quo of existence on this planet. Everybody wants something.  Give them what they want, and they will do what you want.  Back scratching.  Grooming.  Call it what you will, that is the world that everyone knows and nobody loves, but the way the world works nonetheless.  

And they sit back in their chairs in the calm expectation that I will have an answer.  It is always most discomfiting, for everyone in the room including me, when I don’t.  

This is not being evasive or secretive on my part.  

I am simply not like other people in this respect. I don’t have a laundry list of needs, much less a laundry list of desires.  I have been blessed all my life to have what I really needed– food, water, warmth, dry shelter, decent clothes and shoes, transportation— and also an abundance of the less basic and material but equally important things— love and friendship, a spiritual life, pets, a garden, books.  Lots of books.

Let’s face it— I have had a successful life in all respects, and now in my elder years continue to have enough money from my own sources to pay my bills and have what I need and most anything I could desire.  

What do I want? 

I want Americans to wake up and get moving.  I want them to fill-in-the-blanks the Public Fool System left in their educations.  I want them to see how and by whom they have been defrauded and cheated out of the American Dream they are heir to.  I want them to get motivated and fully restore their government and their courts and their schools and their communities.  

Sure, I want to get the information they need into their hands.  I want to motivate them — for their own sake, the sake of their children— yes, I want that, but it doesn’t have to be my voice.  I don’t feel any need to be in the forefront of anything.  I just want the job to get done, so I plod along.  I am looking forward in faith that younger people are going to rise up and take over and let me retire.  So, yes, I guess you could say I want that, too.  

My husband and I are both getting on and frankly we didn’t do all this for fun, not that we have any regrets, not that we wouldn’t do it all again. 

What do I want? 

I was never the one who had her “dream house” or her “dream job” or her “dream boyfriend” all picked out and envisioned.  I didn’t think of men in terms of “tall, dark and handsome” or “short, fat, and blond”.   I had no opinion as to what kind of engagement ring I wanted; in fact, I wasn’t sure I wanted to ever be engaged at all.  I never had a timeline with goals. I didn’t live my life with wants to be fulfilled.  
I just left it all with God and prepared to be surprised and delighted—-and I was. 

Now whether this makes sense or not, whether or not I should be recommending it as the Way for young people to live—-all I can say is that it worked perfectly well for me, and though I sometimes got impatient, waiting for the next chapter to unfold— if a little impatience is the worst complaint you have, you’re doing pretty well. 

This lack of having set goals and wants and needs might smack–to some people– of lack of ambition or laziness or something like that, but no, that’s not true, either.  I have been fully engaged and active and working like a steam engine the whole time.  It’s just that I figured out very early in life that I was ill-suited to answering the hows and whens and whys, so I might more profitably spend my time figuring out what kind of life I wanted and what kind of people I wanted to spend it with and what sort of contribution I might be able to make.  

To me, life has been more about process and journey than notching mileposts or obtaining anything, so asking me what I want provokes consternation of an oddly embarrassing kind.  It’s like I should have an answer right on the tip of my tongue. It’s like I’ve been caught napping in class.  And then I realize that I am not in the same class as everyone else.  The lessons I have had to learn are not about wants. 

My lessons have been about self-knowledge and trust, about gratitude and letting go, about the nature of beauty and the reasons for sacrifice. My biggest lesson was to experience truly unconditional love, and I wasn’t expecting or wanting that, either.  

So. What do I want? 

When I was eighteen years old, I died.  I left my body and drifted up through the many floors of the hospital where I had just passed on.  Paused on the edge of the roof of the hospital and looking out over the city and countryside beyond, I head the most beautiful music— a symphony, expertly played.  

And not only was there no sign of the powerful orchestra, it was my music. 

It was my music.  My symphony.  The one I would have written, if I could have, if I had had the time and skill and inspiration.  

I knew in that moment that Another had written it for me, One who loved me and knew me in the most intimate way possible, and by His Grace, it was being performed for me, to welcome me home.   The orchestra began to appear out of the thin air, super-imposed over the shimmering morning clouds.  

It was nothing that I could have expected. Not in the wildest of my wild dreams. I wept and I knew for sure — this same Love that knows us better than we know ourselves, exists for us all, all-powerful, all-knowing, and perfect. 

What do I want?  

What is there to want, when we already have it all?  

Let’s wake up and admit what is true. Let’s all just stop accepting a world in which everything, even our most sacred love relationships, are attacked by and reduced to commerce.  

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