Luck has not been on our side. Just when all feels well and good, everything changes in the blink of an eye. Unexpected bills...a broken piece of glass in an antique clock...a mounting kit without all the pieces...a window with a rotted bottom that won't close...a piece of metal flattening the tire of the mower (that isn't yours)...
Lately, reaching a feeling of contentment has almost always resulted in something going wrong immediately following. When this happens time after time, it starts to mess with your head a bit. Feeling content used to be my goal. Now experiencing contentment is something I accept with slight skepticism. Why? Because contentment has become a sign of bad things to come. In the midst of contentment, a voice in the back of my head is saying, "Don't get too comfortable."
Last night, I pulled into our driveway feeling instantly at peace. Joel was almost done mowing (which is no small feat) and he greeted me with a wave. The sun was gently shining through the trees, bugs were buzzing, birds were chirping, the wind had finally died down, and I could smell our flowering trees. I started my tasks for the evening. Fixed the rotted wood on the window, started digging around our buildings for items I could repurpose. Our neighbors stopped by to welcome us with some wine.
Sounds quite lovely, doesn't it? I sure thought so. Until I watched Joel pull a thin piece of metal from the tire of the mower and listened to the air rush out faster than we could pump it in. I thought to myself, "There it is." Contentment bubble burst.
But you know what? With as many bad things that have happened to us, we looked at each other with kindness. We found some type of calm contentment within those moments. We put on our grown up britches, got a jack so we could take the tire off, and our evening went on as planned. Instead of saying, "Why us?" we said, "Of course us!" and we figured it out.
Contentment is fleeting and, as I'm finding out, bears many faces. My idea of contentment is what I experienced when I got home. My reality of contentment is what happened in the moments after the tire went flat. Acceptance. Vulnerability. Surrender. Good rolled up in the bad. Because so much good still exists for us among all of the unfortunate experiences we've been having lately. A concept that certainly makes dealing with the hard stuff much easier to shoulder.
My challenge to you: Find the contentment that exists within tough times. The eye of the storm. The moments that make everything worth the trouble. Don't become a contentment skeptic like me - become a contentment seeker. It can be found...it may just present itself to you in a form that you didn't expect.