Thursday, January 03, 2008
For the past week I have thought a lot about contentment, being content. For the most part I am content, but every once in a while I fall prey to some media form that displays so much more than I have and those nagging thoughts of, "Oh I would love to have a tub like that to soak in" or "that room looks so put together, makes mine seem kinda shabby" (not meaning shabby as in shabby chic ) These thoughts might have come from seeing a magazine, or a television show on decorating or shopping in a store and of course there is the computer to show us so many things we don't have. Fortunately for me, these moods never last long and I can usually shake them away pretty fast. I have no desire to make my life one of a long "wish list" filled with discontent thoughts, because the truth is, no matter what you have, someone has even bigger and better things for you to covet. And in the end of things, what you owned is nothing, worthless to you compared to how you lived and who you touched with kindness.
I thought this week about folks that lived out in the country back 150 years or so. No television, no radio, no easy travel, only a few big homes to covet and the ordinary person never saw the insides to compare to their home. A few catalogs, but no credit cards to use quickly without giving thought to what you were doing or relating to the fact that at some point they have to be paid. You had books to read, with descriptions of fine homes, but usually the moral of the story with a big house was that the little country mouse was much happier with their simple life.
I suspect it was easier to be content with what you had. In the Little House on The Prairie television series, the Olsen's had fine things, but it was clear that things didn't make for a happy home.
I know first hand what life is like without a T.V. fancy story books, glossy magazines, shopping in malls and no Internet. So I can compare both ways. At this time in life I can watch what is happening to a group of plain people that have allowed Internet, movies and shopping extraordinaire into their group and I can see the changes in them. The hunt for more material goods is replacing good deeds, helping hands, happy homes, contentment and yes, it appears to many that a longing for the things of God are being replaced by the longing for more things. The keeping up with the Jones mentality is reigning supreme within the group. Spiritual talk is replaced with fancy car talk and bigger house talk. Children are not as well mannered, and dress like anyone else. Young people are drinking and partying. At this rate in 10 years they will be just like anyone else and you will have never known they were plain people.
If I were to be 100% honest with myself, I know its easier, less complicated and certainly life is more content when we remove ourselves from the bombardment of "you need to own this or that to be with it". Contentment comes at a cost, living simply, content without all the "must haves" we just don't measure up in some folks minds, maybe even to our families. It takes strength to be content with the simple things. Strength to stay true to conviction, to swim against the current and to stay away from coveting.
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