Tuesday, February 12, 2013

to learn the secret

I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.  Philipians 4:12

There is so much to learn.  I am learning how to be content.  This may be the lesson I continue to learn for the rest of my life.  I cannot yet make the claim "I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation".  I would like to say that I have discovered this secret, however I cannot.

In most situations I tend to have that one thing that I wish was different.  For example, I might have the weather I love and a job I enjoy but, I long for the community I have left behind that stimulated me spiritually and intellectually.  In one place I have enjoyed art and music, but longed for a more internationally minded community.  In another, I have had the stimulating community, but missed the beauty of nature in the place I just left or find it difficult to provide for my basic needs of food, clothing, and shelter.  I get a job and then wish for art and music.  I get culture and long for friendship and community.  Oh to learn the secret!

There might be a discontent that comes with being a 'stranger' on the earth.  All of these things, community, beauty, shelter, provision, etc. might be seen and welcomed from a distance like the men and women of faith in the Bible.  Sometimes I feel like I see the possibility of discovering the secret of contentment and saying "I want to stay here, in this place for a long time" and then I find myself anxious, restless and longing for something different.  I hope that someday, I will find myself in a place that I would not like to leave for a long time... to seek a bit more passionately the secret of being content.

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live the questions now... R.M. Rilke