they don't exist.
as i travelled to work this morning i passed thousands of folks who were doing the same. some were the unwashed masses and others were the washed masses but in the end, we're all the same. folks walked and bussed or drove their little economy vehicle as they meandered along to continue their lives. it struck me that everyone is so obviously struggling with life just as i am, perhaps more. every second person is worried about how to pay the rent or the mortgage, how to get food for the day and find a little leisure time before they curl up ... perhaps for the last time.
i then think of years ago and many times i see our struggle (mine and Wendy's) as being something that i don't want to go back to. we had our share of great times, don't get me wrong, and we're REALLY fortunate and blessed to have the life that we share ... but something still pokes at me.
life is hard.
it was hard years ago when i struggled with a $9/hr job and we tried our best to meet the rent on a monthly basis but it's still hard when i have an unbelievably well paying job and our mortgage is paid off. i think of those times and i realize that we never could've succeeded like we have today when we were stuck where we were then.
as i get older i get more nostalgic. i long for a simpler time but i also realize that the simpler time was such a long time ago that i can't really see it any longer. reminiscing is important to seniors (no i'm not a senior thank you very much) but the more i think about it the more that i see that the good old days weren't all that good. in many ways these days are loads better and than i stop and think HOLY CRAP, these days are BETTER? life is hard.
there have been some mountaintop moments and there have been some pretty deep valleys. metaphorically a valley is supposed to be a beautiful place but emotionally it's not for me. i'm also afraid of heights (a bit) so it's weird that i consider a mountaintop a lifegiving place. nevertheless, we came through and we've gotten to where we are now. i'm relatively healthy (although under too much stress and probably a bit depressed) and i'm still here. i have no way to discern how in the world Paul was ever content in whatever circumstance he was in because i find contentment a constant struggle.
today is Wendy's birthday and i never know what i can do to bring her happiness. i got her a present, but it had to be ordered and it won't be coming in by today. i will be heading down to Tall Grass Prairie Bread Co (owned by dear friends and prayer mentors Lyle and Kathy, and Paul and Tabitha) to get some of their KICK-ASS chocolate cake and lemon poppyseed cake for Wendy as well as a slice of carrot cake for me but that doesn't seem like much.
i long for contentment. i long for my wife's contentment. the Psalmist is now ringing in my head and i realize that i'm longing for God. i will find Him because He's all around me. i'll see Him where i look and i fully expect to see Him in my loved one's face when i see her.
i still have all my anxieties and worries about it all, because life is very much hard, but i can still see God. i have no desire for the "good old days" whenever that was but i still want today and i'm still desiring tomorrow. God is there and that is the contentment i need right now.
oh my, Lent starts tomorrow. i'm already planning a post about that.