Present

We’re talking about transitions this week for a number of reasons.

  1. I received a great question about coping with changing seasons that I’ll share with you tomorrow.
  2. Real life transitions are happening in the lives of so many of my friends and family: weddings, adoptions, dating, new jobs, moving, disappointments, pregnancies, exciting opportunities, grad school, challenges… and on and on and on!
  3. I continue to struggle with how to respond to all of the changes going on around me. How do you rejoice with others when you don’t feel like rejoicing? Is it ok to enjoy a season of blessing when friends are walking through a season of hardship?
  4. I feel as though every conversation has someone wistfully longing for a season of life that’s to come… or one that’s already happened. Can we learn to be content in our present situation?
  5. I just read through every one of my journals during the month of June. I was hunting some specific info for my project, but it was also very entertaining. A common theme through all 18 books that span my middle school years to present day: a desperate search for contentment during just about EVERY season and transition of life.

My journal hunting also revealed how much I enjoy recording quotes and passages from books, articles, lectures, and sermons. I could fill a whole journal or two just with quotations. One of the most interesting passages I discovered in my high school journal was a poem written by a 14 year-old boy. I’m not certain where I first discovered it, but I know exactly why I copiously copied it into the sunflower spiral-bound journal. See for yourself…

Present Tense
It was spring, But it was summer I wanted,
The warm days, And the great outdoors.
It was summer, But it was fall I wanted,
The colorful leaves, And the cool, dry air.
It was fall, But it was winter I wanted,
The beautiful snow, And the joy of the holiday season.
It was winter, But it was spring I wanted,
The warmth, And the blossoming of nature.
I was a child, But it was adulthood I wanted,
The freedom, And the respect.
I was 20, But it was 30 I wanted,
To be mature, And sophisticated.
I was middle-aged, But it was 20 I wanted,
The youth, And the free spirit.
I was retired, But it was middle age I wanted,
The presence of mind, Without limitations.
My life was over.
But I never got what I wanted.
-Jason Lehman, 14 yrs

 

Are you living for the future, past, or present?

Following,
Ginger

  • Pingback: Sometimes socializing is like going to the dentist…()

  • Shannon B

    Beautiful poem that really speaks to your theme. Def a humbling opportunity to self-reflect for myself. Great discussion with you and Carey, enjoyed reading it. :)

  • Ahhhh…contentment. That word causes such a strange reaction in me. If I sit content for too long I feel lazy. I feel as if I am not striving to be new, better, or changed. Example being…we could have sat content in our finances but decided to strive towards being debt free. I could sit content in my job but I want more for my children so have decided to strive to work differently. I could be rest content in my relationships but instead I want growth so I actively pursue things that will create change in them. Will be interested to hear your definition of content. Something for me to process today. Thank you! With Joy, Carey

    • And your response caused a unique reaction in me! (The posts through the rest of the week really deal more with handling transitions, so I wanted to be sure and share my thoughts here!) I think it totally depends on our definition of contentment. In counseling we’ve been working on my tendancy towards self-condemnation. For me, a season of contentment means being ok with imperfection… the case of the “not enough.” I echo your desire to strive to be new and better – but I’m learning that I have to temper those desires with grace.

      This post I was especially thinking about all those times that I let discontentment keep me from enjoying anything in my present state: and really for me it was wanting to be married and have a family. Having that desire was a good thing – in fact, I think desires and hopes can bring us great joy. But for me it was the singular focus of that desire that kept me from peace in the “now.” I hope that makes sense.

      I pulled out the thesaurus: Synonyms for CONTENTMENT include happiness, satisfaction, gratification, pleasure, serenity, comfort, content, ease, peace. The antonyms are these: misery, regret, sadness, dissent.

      I don’t think that living with contentment means settling for a lesser version of ourselves or our lives. I think I tend to picture contentment as satisfied peace. In the end, contentment ISN’T something else for me to work towards and chide myself when I don’t succeed. Contentment comes in focusing my eyes upon Christ and not on my circumstances – it’s in the sense of purpose and fulfillment that He alone can bring.

      “When you feel that longing, know what it is.  Don’t look for something on this Earth to heal it.  It won’t heal. It is your heartstring tied to your heavenly home.  Sit back in the ache of it.  And know that every time you feel it, it is the echo of the reality that this is not all there is.” –Beth Moore, Patriachs

      Thank YOU for causing me to think further!!

      • Gotcha. It was in those seasons of my life that I discovered JOY in the true form! Romans 15:13 became my mantra and brought me through the times when I didn’t feel like things were going MY way. Thankful for the ways those times shape us. With Joy, ;) Carey