Filling the void.

10:40 AM


   I suppose I should know by now that when I stumble upon a powerful truth in my own life, it will be put to the test.  But somehow I continue to forget that.

   It was not even a day after I posted about Hope, (just a few hours, really) that I awoke from a fitful night of sleep with a party goin' on in my tummy.  And it was NOT a good party.  I spent the next day losing my lunch and running to the bathroom and feeling altogether pretty horribly miserable.  Randy took care of the girls while I basically laid around and slept when I could.  It was a day I don't wish to repeat any time soon.  Sunday I was already starting to feel better, but still stayed home from church and took it easy that day.  It seems to be over now and I'm still not sure what it was....seemed like the flu but it couldn't have hardly been because it was over so quickly! 

   Don't get me wrong, I am thankful it didn't last long, but that day of misery certainly brought all the things I waxed poetic about into the harsh lighting of reality.  It is HARD to be thankful when you feel awful.  It is HARD to be grateful when circumstances are not what you wish they would be.   And it's hardest because somewhere, in some areas of our lives, we are all expecting something to fulfill us.  Something to make us feel good, to make our days perfect, to make our lives feel successful. 

   What are we turning to for that?  Are we turning to our husbands, only to crumple when they don't meet our every, lofty expectation?  Are we turning to our children, only to groan in despair when they are human, and less-than-perfect?  Are we turning to our interests,  hobbies, passions...only to give up when we realize we can't be everything we want to be? 

What are we using to FILL THE VOID?  

   I recently saw this ad campaign in a magazine that deeply disturbed me.  I kept thinking about it, off and on for days, and I just couldn't seem to shake it.  When that happens, I blog about it.  And so here we are.

I found a copy of some of the ads on google images:

   Isn't that horrible?  The not-so-subtle messages of these ads are, "You don't feel well-liked?  Buy some shoes.  You hate your body and the cycle of crazy diets?  Buy some clothes.  Your heart has been crushed?  Buy a bag."  As if adding more "things" to our already stuffed-full closets and lives can fill the God-shaped hole in our hearts. 

   I cannot explain how much this bothers me.  Every day, everywhere, people are hurting and living their lives in secret pain.  But the ads aren't even trying to ignore this anymore.  No, NOW the ads are proclaiming that if we just turn to materialism and continue to try and satiate our need for companionship, unconditional love and acceptance with THINGS, we will at last, fill the ever-illusive void.

   But perhaps the one I despise the most, and the one I personally stumbled across that started this whole train of thought, was this one:

  I don't think I have to even explain how sad and tragic this one is.  I'm not sure if I want to chuckle in disbelief, cry, or write a heated letter to the editor.  There are just so many things wrong with this way of thinking that I don't know where to begin.  And I don't have a picture of this, but on the opposite page of the spread of these ads, is a page full of stickers that each say "FILL THE VOID"  that Lucky encourages you to place throughout the entire magazine on items you want to buy.  Can you grasp the mental image with me?  An entire magazine filled with images of skinny models, designer shoes and trendy outfits....littered with "Fill the void" stickers like graffiti throughout the pages on items you desperately crave, hoping against hope that it will fill the emptiness in your life.  What a sad, sad, image.

   Do we really buy into this?   Part of me finds it hard to believe that anyone would see an ad like that and take it seriously.  But then I take a look around at the world we live in, and sadly, I believe it is true for many people.  I pray that I am not making this true in my life, even in small, more subtle ways. 

   In any case, it was certainly a wake-up call, both when I saw this ad and Saturday, when I was clutching my stomach in pain, to re-examine what I am filling the void with. 

Happy Monday, everyone. 

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  1. i agree, that last picture BREAKS MY HEART. how society can encourage this kind of selfish mom thinking i have no idea?!!
    so. sad.
    in other news, i am feeling very frustrated with my 2 girls lately, and dreaming of a day off from mothering them... so on goes the irony.

  2. I really loved this post, Shelley. I've been thinking about ads a lot lately too, and how many of them use the phrase "you deserve it."
    Why do people constantly believe the message that they "deserve" a $200 bag, the moisturizer that promises perfect skin, a cruise to the Bahamas, etc?
    Maybe the subtle message is not "you deserve the purse" so much as "you deserve to have the void filled. Here is a purse that will fill the void."
    I have such cognitive dissonance with ads. I love the pretty pictures, and I love the fact that they allow me to buy magazines for cheaper than the cost of the ink and access amazing websites for free, but I hate the consumerist "you deserve it this will fill the void" message that society is being spoon fed.


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