Did I catch your attention yet? I can already hear the “boos” coming once I tell you the topic — some of those boos are even coming from myself because it’s a hard to swallow topic. Contentment. Oh, boy is that a boulder of a topic or what? I have chronic NNS ( Negative Nancy Syndrom), so contentment isn’t my forte at all. The more I age, though, the more I see that contentment is the true key to happiness. Sounds easy right? Yeah, no. I was kidding. I will likely lose some readers and subscribers over this one, but I needed to write it, at the very least, as a letter to myself.
Contentment. It’s shunned like a four letter word in the fashion industry in which I work. “Of course you need that $300 pair of jeans that look just like that pair you have on. Oh, and that $700 bag too”. But it’s so much bigger than fighting just the “want”, contentment is so multidimensional that it’s so hard to figure out how to make it work in your life.
Two days prior to the vacation that my husband and I have been planning and yearning for, an alert came through that our vacation would be canceled. Immediately in my head I started an “argument” with God. “But why, Lord? Ben and I desperately need this time alone together without the burdens of work and home life.” “But why Lord? This may be the last time we can go on a vacation for a very long time once I take on a full-time job again.” “But why Lord?” And the list went on. Until finally I stopped myself and realized how trivial these pleas really sounded. I stopped arguing for a moment, mid curling my hair with my expensive curling iron, looked into my clean mirror at a face not disfigured by human brutality, looked at my bed fully furnished with a down filled duvet, walked into my kitchen and felt my hardwood floors beneath my toes that weren’t damaged and torn to pieces from flood waters, and began to cry.
My problems are so small. It doesn’t mean they don’t hurt me inside. It doesn’t mean I minimize them while comparing them to someone else’s. It doesn’t mean that I jump for joy when dreams crack, and plans fall through, and by no means does it magically make the fact that I’m sick 75% of my life, suddenly feel less painful. What it does mean though, is that when the wind blows, and the storms come, and my metaphorical house comes falling down, I can look at what I do have through the pain, and be grateful. It means instead of my “But why Lord?” I hear “But why Mary? Look at what I have given you? A husband who cherishes and loves you, the opportunity to take time off work to recover your health, look at this beautiful apartment I have supplied to you. Safety from what would have been a dangerous and life threatening situation. But why Mary do you fight against the one thing I do not give you?”
Whoo boy, that’s a big pill to swallow. It’s so much easier to complain about a situation, or to look at that idol on Instagram living the life you want and think “why not me?”. I’m definitely so guilty of that one. Officer, cuff me and take me to jail. I’m a felon when it comes to discontent and envy. At the end of the day though, when I find myself seeking contentment, seeking joy in what I have surrounding me, instead of wallowing in self-pity, THAT is when I CAPTURE true happiness. When I inspect what is going right, what I have, what is special, even when times are hard and good is hard to find, it warms my heart beyond compare. Love what you have, not what you want!
Now as I step off my soap box, I hope some how, in some minuscule way, this boring and hard to read post helps you capture the joy in your contentment. No matter the situation, if you look hard enough, if your heart wants to seek it, beauty is there. Go and catch it.