Sunday, August 15, 2010

The Profound Joy of Contentment


Well, it's been a crazy couple of weeks. We've been on two separate vacations, creating mountains of laundry and things that haven't been fully put away yet. In between that, I have helped my friend start and launch a cake business (I'm a part owner) and there has been untold hours of work that I've put in...long days and long nights...in the midst of those vacations and other obligations. In addition, my husband starts back to work tomorrow (he's a teacher) and I have a week of the kids on my own before school starts back up for them. Simply put, there is still much to be done and I'm exhausted.

I have had to let some things fall by the wayside: I have not updated my blog in forever; I have totally neglected to post any bargains or deals, nor have I had the energy, time or inclination to scout them out; My house is a whirlwind of disastrous proportions; My intent of learning how to play my guitar has remained an intention.

And, I've been so worn out at the end of the day, that I have been unable to read, and I've missed it. Those who really know me well, know that I am an avid reader. I read everything from cereal boxes, to biographies, to cheesy romance novels, to Reader's Digest -- and I enjoy it all. I love learning new things and odd bits of info to store away and share at just the right moment. I adore being transported to new worlds and going on amazing adventures...all from the comfort from my favorite reading chair.

Lately, I have been reading through the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency series by Alexander McCall Smith, featuring lady private detective, Precious Ramotswe. If you haven't read (or seen the HBO miniseries) these amazing books, you'll have to make the time to do so -- and quickly. The heart-felt humor and love of country permeates these books. You cannot help but feel moved by the character's affection for Botswana and the values that her father and the "old country" stood for. And, if you have ever been to Africa, it will make you "homesick" in a bad way for that earthy breath of that beloved continent.

Anyhow, after going for weeks of not being able to read for pleasure because of so many things going on my life, I picked up the latest book in the series (The Double Comfort Safari Club) last night as a "nightcap" before I drifted off to sleep. And as usual, Mma Ramotswe delivered her usual homespun adages and comforting view of people and their foibles.

In an unexpected bout of luxury, I was able to read this afternoon (in place of my desired nap) and in doing so, I was able to finish this installment of the series with this beautiful passage from the viewpoint of my favorite female detective:


"And for a moment, as she sat there with her friend, with the late-afternoon sun slanting in through the window, she thought about how she owed her father so much. He had taught her almost everything she knew about how to lead a good life, and the lessons she had learned from him were as fresh today as they ever had been. Do not complain about your life. Do not blame others for things that you have brought upon yourself. Be content with who you are and where you are, and do whatever you can do to bring others contentment, and joy, and understanding that you have managed to find yourself.

She closed her eyes. You can do that in the company of an old friend--you can close your eyes and think of the land that gave you life and breath, and of all the reasons why you are glad that you are there, with the people you know, with the people you love."

As I read that, something inside me said, "Yes, yes! Exactly!" It was like a breath of pure and sweet air into my very soul. I have started to feel a bit broken down and weary. The pace of my life has been crazy hectic (and some of that is my own doing entirely); but in the big picture of life, how can I complain? At the end of the day, I have so much to be thankful for. I'm am truly, truly blessed. My desire is to be content with who I am, and where I am, and to bring that same thing to others.

And the greatest blessing is that I can do that because...I am known....and I am loved. That truly makes all the difference in the world.

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