05 February, 2012
From Envy to Contentment
I really envy a friend of mine. She's a lawyer, married with no kids, and living just outside Washington D.C. She has time to run long distances, visit local markets, and spend time "centering" on Sundays.
Today is Sunday and my day was anything but centered. I haven't showered, the laundry is complete but unfolded, and I am sitting mired in a cluttered desk with a to-do list longer than my 5'9" frame. Five minutes ago I had a glass of red wine, but I can't put my finger on it now...
I miss the days before my kids. There, I said it. It doesn't make me love my children any less to say that. It doesn't make me any less of a good mommy to reminisce the days when leaving the house took no longer than the amount of time it took to find my keys. Or to wax on about the weeks when the house only had to be picked up ONCE. Or to want a weekend away with my husband to remember what he looks like without his yogurt-smeared sweatpants.
We have fond memories of our time before our children and I've been told by friends that the years between 0-5 are some of the hardest on a marriage because of the constant grind. Somedays the storytelling is all that gets us through these long days.
As I find myself envying my dear friend's life I hear the Lord say, "Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's goods."
However, when God gives you a message like that and you can't get it off your heart, I've found that the only way past it is to take it to prayer. As I mulled over that phrase, angry at God for missing the point, I couldn't make myself feel better. Nothing I read or thought could justify me past what God was telling me. If I wasn't right then I had to wander down the rabbit hole of "what if God is right?"
What I have is beautiful. The life we live is so blessed. Activities and outings that once had meaning as a couple now have a whole new dimension as a family. Wings and fries nights are now family date nights and I'd never want to miss a "laugh 'til you cry" trip to the zoo. Long car romantic drives are now comandeered for "pil-loso-pee" discussions about the comings and goings of all things cows and dragons. As I type I'm listening over the monitor to my son click the cats into his room so they can "listen for a story". And there is nothing, absoultely nothing, more wonderful than watching John Ross teach his sister how to use the IPOD.
These are moments of my life that I will never get back. Perhaps that is why the Gospel of Matthew reminds us, "Do not worry about tomorrow...today has enough trouble of it's own."
Okay, Lord...but, I still miss those days.
"The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters."
It is time to find contendedness is the place my shepherd has led me. He has promised to lead me to safety, nourishment and rest. I must relish the gift of the moment. Five years from now I will find myself missing these days and wishing them back.
"God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose."
Amazing how something as unnerving as envy can take my heart through a beautiful scripture journey to a place where I can and should find contentment in God's providence. Now it is up to my free will and discipline to remain in the place of contentment.