Contentment – It’s taken me over 35 years to apply this valuable word to my life. Much time has been wasted racing to the next big moment and I won’t get it back. When I was young, I couldn’t wait to be old enough to drive, when I was single I couldn’t wait to be married, when my first two children were babies, I couldn’t wait for them to reach each new mile stone. I would think that life would be more exciting once we got to the next big thing. No wonder I was always so tired!
Then we bought our house – a fixer upper. My husband and I had never fixed up anything before, so this was going to be new and exciting. We had watched plenty of HGTV, so we were obviously qualified for the job. Yes, that was sarcasm! We made a list of all the things that would need fixing – it was very long. Still, with the skills we learned from watching TV, we figured it shouldn’t take us too long and we would have the perfect house once we were finished.
As reality set in, (you’ve gotta love the harshness of reality) I realized it was going to take a lot longer than we had planned. HGTV must do a lot of editing! I began to hate our house. I was embarrassed by it. I could picture in my head the finished product, but let’s face it, it takes a lot of time and a lot of money to recreate it for real.
Then one day the revelation came – I may not be able to change my surroundings but I sure could change my attitude!
Here I was complaining about how my house looks when there are so many people who are homeless. Our house may not be pretty or big – that’s an understatement! – but it’s warm and dry and cool in the summer. It’s clean – not to be mistaken with organized…but, that’s another post. I will get to my lack of organizational skills one of these days! It’s in a nice neighbourhood, surrounded by wonderful people. The funny thing is, my children love our house, they find it comforting and safe – they do not have a clue about how cosmetically deficient it is!
I needed to stop complaining.
I needed to learn to be thankful.
I needed to be content.
I needed to learn to enjoy every day as I live it.
It’s amazing how much that has changed my life, especially as a parent. Sometimes parenting is hard, sometimes it’s very, very hard. It’s easy to wish for bedtime to arrive, and believe me, there have been many days when I truly have, but lately I try not to. Instead, I try to appreciate the moment I’m in, even the hard ones. It’s not always easy – I’m a work in progress! When the children have completely trashed their room for the umpteenth time and I’m exhausted and would rather have the hairs on my head plucked out one by one than have to supervise another room clean up, I am thankful that…
my children have a bedroom
that they are safe in their room
that they have toys
that they are healthy and can play
…it’s amazing how fast that changes my attitude. Sometimes, just stopping and hugging it out does wonders too. I’m never more thankful than when I have my children snuggled in my arms.
Recently I’ve been presented with ample opportunity to practice my contentment skills. Every fiber of my being wants to be in our trailer travelling full time but our situation at the moment is not conducive to that lifestyle. It’s easy to get resentful towards the reasons we can’t be on the road right now, but instead I’m trying to be thankful for what we can do. I’m thankful for the warm weather that has allowed us to camp already and I’m thankful for all the trips we have planned for the rest of the year. One day we will be able to live out our dream but for now…
I am content!