Friday, February 29, 2008

Saving the World

Today I am thankful. I spoke with a lady today who summed up life so well. I am contented with most of the things in my life. I am contented with my husband, even when I look at him and wonder what planet he came from, I still would rather have no other alien-husband than him. My dogs are rambunctious and chew up the walls and the furniture, but when I look at them I am reminded that I would rather have no other dogs than them. My job is so difficult and stressful, yet I am thankful that I get to do the job I do most days of the week. My car is almost 15 years old, but I wouldn't have any other car. I have just the car I want. I look in the mirror and maybe my hair doesn't look that great today, but overall am pleased with what I see. My house may not be finished all completely the way I want it, and sometimes I feel discontented with it, but other times I think about how huge this house is and how wonderful it is to have so much space and the ability to have lots of people over.

I remember times of feeling discontented with most of life, rather than contented. Then I wonder, how did I get to this point that I can look at all these things and feel so at peace? And when did this peace come? I wish I had the magical answer, because then perhaps I could save the world. Only by the Grace of God do I have this peace.

Ahh, Grace, the freely given, unmerited favor and love of God.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Not All Lessons Are Hard Lessons

Leatrice would be so proud of me right now, because I am sitting in the room she calls, "The Room [I] never use." I call it the living room. And I even started a fire on my own (well ok it wasn't that difficult, since it is gas, but until today I've been afraid I'd set the house on fire. So I overcame my fear tonight and started it all by myself).

My latest and greatest pondering deals with contentment. I think about all the "stuff" I have...a beautiful home, a well-paying job, two loving puppies, a pantry full of food (most of which doesn't even get eaten), lots of clothes, my own car to which I have access 24/7...etc. etc. Above those things, I have a husband and many friends that are near and dear to my heart. I am so incredibly blessed it is beyond comprehension. What would it be like to live in a place where these "blessings" are unheard of? A co-worker on my unit is from India, and I am fascinated by her stories of life in her country. She says life in America is easy. In India the work is physically demanding. The wife works all day long to clean and cook, and the husband is usually out doing heavy labor-type work. However, she says that in India, there is much more respect within the family. The children rarely talk back because they are taught by all family members not to do so. There is greater support among the family members, and the entire extended family is truly seen as a unit. When she spoke about her family in India, she made comments like, "We have house in India," when she referred to where her cousin lives. To the family, the house is not sole property of her cousin; it is the entire family's house, even if the cousin is the one who "owns" the house.

I am intrigued by this attitude. All of my "blessings" are mine, right? No! My blessing is your blessing. And I want to learn that all the "stuff" in my life doesn't just belong to me. I have no inherent right to all these things. I could be content with so much less. I like knowing that I don't need more and more for my life to work out just right. I can look back just a year ago when we were renting and I remember feeling that void of not owning a house. And just a few months ago I can remember feeling the void of not yet having children. Or the first 6 months of my job when I hated it and wondered how on earth I could ever survive in such a stressful environment. I suppose it took me getting all these things to realize that I don't really need them. All I need to be content is to have faith that God cares deeply for me and that he will provide all that I need. He cares for me, just the me that He created and that exists. Even my personality, which God created uniquely for me, is irrelevant in His love for me. So his love depends on nothing of who I am other than that I simply am His child.

Now take all these things away and how would I feel or react? I don't know. But thank God for the grace He gives to teach me these lessons, even if He is so gracious to hand them to me on a silver platter.

Not all lessons are hard lessons.