Today I am content.
I can't say that every day. Some days pile up so discontentedly that it feels smothering. Other days feel whiny and at odds in a "I am so bored" kind of way. Still other days feel like they might want to be contented but are hesitant to own it.
Today, I am content. And I just want to say it out loud.
You know...it is good to share contentment. In these days of wanting to be real we can almost be afraid to admit (even to ourselves) the times where the mundane is truly satisfying.
I think those sighs of peaceful nothingness and everythingness are truly gifts from God.
When our eyes are open to the fact that it doesn't really take a fantasmic day of uber fun to make a heart feel glad....we can find that regular is nice. And it is so much easier to get to.
So what is contentment?
Contentment is looking at your situation and deciding? declaring? realizing? recognizing...that's it...recognizing that it is ok.
Your situation is ok.
I am gonna say that contentment comes easier when the situation is easy.
( I am a genius. You have been suspecting this haven't you?)
But what about when things are hard?
It is nice and easy to feel content when the bills are paid and the kids are healthy and dinner is on the stove.
But what about feeling content when you don't know where the paycheck is coming from? What about when your husband has a debilitating illness? How about when everyone is whining and you haven't a clue about what to fix for supper or even if you have food to fix it with?
Yeah. That stinks.
I do not know how to be content in those situations.
I think that only Jesus has an answer for that. I have seen some pretty contented people with some dire circumstances looming over them. Doesn't make sense at all. Yet it is there.
How is that?
How can some types of people find satisfaction and contentment in things that other people would find torturous at best?
I want to tell you a little bit about my mom and what she taught me about living content.
My mama was one of those types that could be content even if she was to find herself without her dentures in a gum chewin contest.
She spent the last 10 yrs of her sweet life here on earth completely consumed with contentment. And this in the face of literally bone crushing illness.
Now, I am not saying that she didn't ever complain. She did. But not much. She would let you know she was hurting. Times were when she couldn't help but holler. But she never had a "woe is me" mentality.
And if you asked her, she would lead you to believe that her life was good.
Ok. not to be cruel but you need to know some of what she faced in order to make that last sentence fully carry the sarcastic weight with which it was intended.
(she said it seriously...I wrote it sarcastically)
She was diabetic, and that progressed to bone degeneration in both feet, gangrene, firey nerve pains in her feet and legs, kidney failure leading to dialysis, congestive heart failure, blindness, random hallucinations, frequent blood sugar flatlines...on and on and on.
It wasn't good. It was anything but good.
But all she would admit to was that God continued to provide everything she needed.
Gosh that is irritating. I mean inspiring.
(I would say that right to her if she were here. And she would smile. Except I wouldn't say gosh. Cuz that would be cussing.)
Ok now I am all misty.
I think...that part of her contentment came from her ability to find the happiness inside of her situation. So many times I want to look beyond my situation to a better situation which leads to an insipid longing for something that is beyond my grasp. I don't think she did that.
She faced much hardship in her life and she didn't let it crush her. She didn't let it mould her in a way that openly displayed her diploma from the school of hard knocks. She took her hardships and learned how to find life among the knocks. Good life even.
I think that she really believed it when she said that complaining didn't help anything. (I heard her say that...believe me.)
I know...that she found her center in my daddy's love. He is a lover. He loves her every day of her life here and beyond. She knew that. Maybe it is more accurate to say that she found her place in the center of his love. Either way...she was blessed.
I know...that her children loving Jesus brought her a contentment that all the pain on earth could not take down. We are gonna all be together again soon. That kept her very content.
I know...that she really and truly trusted God with her happiness. She believed with everything in her that He had her best interest at the core of His heart and she could live on that knowledge and understanding. She understood things I did not get at all.
So knowing what I know I go back to what I think. My mom found contentment IN her circumstance. Where have I heard that before?
She didn't look beyond or through her life here to glimpse something waiting for her in Heaven.
She absolutely trained herself to be content with what had been given her here. She had learned to base her contentment on the reality of the unchangeable things like love and life. Real life. Her present circumstances did not affect her contentment because she knew that those circumstances would soon change.
And you know what is really sweet about her contentment?
It wasn't dependent on her living here, or her dying here. She was happy with the prospect of either one. Where have I heard that before?
I know this...
At the end of her stay here I was given the blessing of asking her if she was ready to go home.
My sister and I had talked to her about our love and about taking care of our daddy. She couldn't really talk but she was listening and I got to ask her...
"mom, are you ready to go? Are you ready to go home?"
Her last words to me ...
"Beckie, do you mean Heaven?"
"Yes, mama, are you ready to go home to Heaven?"
"Oh YES!" she said.
and I know she found contentment in those words too.
So today I am content. I say I learned it from my mama yet I hesitate to belittle her accomplishment with my puny life of ease and finding satisfaction in my bliss. I hope that I can honor her by remembering her lessons when my own tough times come along.( I ain't foolin myself into thinking I am exempt. )
Right now all I can claim is that I whine much too much. I get afraid to admit my contentment like it will jinx me for something worse. I also get lazy and malcontent enough to dismiss my ease as complacency and forget to be thankful for the everyday. Neither or these attitudes are glorious.
I want to remember her and be happy where I am. Content.
She taught me that it is possible to live and love through anything. She taught me that circumstances do not have to define your happiness and that satisfaction can be found even in moments of turmoil. She taught me that your regular life whatever that looks like is worthy of thanks. She taught way more than I actually learned.
Just let me leave this as a testament to her wisdom. If I get really quiet I can hear her say the words.
Be content in your circumstances...whatever they may be.
It is good to be content.