Lately, I feel discontented.
Contentment is a constant in my life.
I’m happy in my relationship with God.
I’m happily married.
In retirement, I have the time to do the things I love.
All our children, grandchildren and great-grands are well and happy.
So what’s up??? A lot that’s what.
My eyes and heart see what may be in my future, and it is unsettling.
My husband has had chronic back issues for some time, decades in fact. And now he has ruptured a disc and needs surgery.
Since Christmas day, he has been basically disabled by unrelenting pain which exceeds 10 on a scale of 1-10 when he is standing, walking or lying down. Sitting is his only option, and this means he is unable to do anything he usually does.
Suddenly, for the first time in our marriage, everything is dependent on me. I did not realize just how much my husband does.
- Hauling the garbage and recycling cans to the top of our drive, top meaning there’s a hill to climb to the road.
- Seeing that the compost from the kitchen is taken to our compost pile in the farthest corner of the yard, even in the rain.
- Emptying and refilling kitty’s litter box.
- Cleaning up the yard debris and blow off the roof after every wind storm. Did I mention we live in a mini-forest of 28 old growth Douglas firs? Boughs currently cover our roof and yard. If the rain would stop, I need to get out and start raking them up! (He’s worried about this.)
- Seeing to the needs of our cars.
- And much, much more!
Yes, I married a good man who does his part. He is nine years older than me, and I’ve suddenly looked and seen that the chances are he could enter heaven first. I told him one day last week that if he weren’t with me, I couldn’t take care of this home and yard alone.
These last three months have sucked contentment out of me.
I feel empty, and I know God doesn’t intend for me to feel so.
In Paul’s letter to the church at Philippi (Philippians 4:11), we read that no matter our circumstances we are to be content. This is tough!
Then I remembered–I remembered Mom. Dad was 11 years older than Mom. Sick from the day they married, Dad wasn’t always there for Mom or for us kids. It was all he could do to handle the work day, much less do anything extra at the end of it.
But Mom’s faith remained strong. She saw to it that home and hearth continued as always, while sometimes tending to Dad’s medical needs as well. All done with grace. It’s one of the few really good memories I have of her.
Perhaps my discontent has come about so that I could see this beautiful memory of Mom.
Perhaps so I would be reminded during Lent to accept my lot, whatever it is, and keep smiling.
Perhaps it is a reminder that God is with me in everything.
REFLECTION: What about you? Are you content in all circumstances? Is there a time when it just wasn’t possible to smile? Won’t you share your story?