I was in Macy’s the other day and discovered a shiny display for a new fragrance called “Justin Bieber’s Girlfriend”. “What?!” I said out loud. “Are you kidding me?” This perfume is clearly targeting tweens who just yearn to be—what else?—Justin Bieber’s girlfriend. Of course the chances are extremely slim that that would happen to a given Bieber fan. So, they created another perfume called “Someday”. Because, there’s always hope, right?
Every human has longings of the heart but doesn’t this perpetuate an unrealistic hope? The discovery of this oddly named Justin Bieber fragrance got me thinking about human longing and the desires of the heart.
Saint Ignatius encourages the exploration of the desires of the heart, those deep things that lead us to lives of joy and connect us more deeply with God. But we have to be discerning of which desires are genuine. Sadly, many people—including Bieber-loving tweens—mistake fantasies for true desires. Such fantasies can create false hopes and unrealistic expectations. Ignatius would say these things are “disordered” attachments, in that they are false desires that lead us away from God. He would say that the evil spirit uses such fantasies to dig you into a deep hole and your continued longing for them causes you to dig yourself deeper and deeper into despair and hopelessness.
Many religions offer hope including Judaism which waits for the hope of the messiah. Christians believe the messiah came as Jesus Christ and the Christ offers a message of hope for restoration at the end of days when all is complete. It is for a making right, a reconciliation. These basic hopes which all of us carry in one way or another, are part of the longings we have between now and the end of time. Perhaps the “someday” of Justin Bieber’s perfume alludes to this universal hope. Someday things will be made right…
But that someday can become a dissatisfaction with the now. “Someday I’ll be happy…” “Someday I’ll have enough money…” “Someday I could meet Justin Bieber…” “Someday my prince will come…”
Many a woman may imagine being Snow White meeting the perfect Prince Charming. But longings that fantasise beyond patient waiting, beyond trust in God, and beyond a joyful presence can be harmful. They can lead one into poor decisions and even deeper holes. This kind of someday is beyond your control. The key is finding the joy in the present moment and asking for the grace you need for the future because someday isn’t now.
Then you have someday statements that perhaps are more realistic and within your control. ”Someday I’ll do the travelling I’ve always wanted to do…” What’s stopping you? Life is short and if you find yourself using such someday statements as ways to put off a commitment or decision, then that could be the evil spirit causing you to be stagnant. Do that travel, start that book, call that friend. It’s only more likely you’ll continue putting it off. So do it if it is something that can bring deep joy and life to you.
I’m sure none of these questions are going through the minds of those marketing Bieber’s purfume, but it’s a reminder to us that while “someday” can allude to Christian hope and crooked paths being made straight, it can also delude us and remove us from the gifts of the present moment.
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Music by audionautix.com and Kevin MacLeod