As Steve and I left our local Safeway store a few days ago we both observed a myriad of people both coming and going in the parking lot.Some on foot.Some in cars or on bikes.They all were talking on cell phones.Talk.Talk. Talk.They could not even manage to shop for groceries in silence and peace.
Steve commented to me as we observed this"We sure live in a talky world,don't we?"I had to concur with him.We do live in a very talky world.It's everywhere.As I pondered this sad state of affairs I commented back in reply"People can't learn anything if they're always talking."
And it's true when you really think about it(or even if you don't because you're one of those people who seldom stops to think because you're always talking :) ). To learn requires a certain measure of listening.And listening carefully as Mr Hemingway's lovely quote states.
But for some it's a difficult thing,this listening. Our personality may be more extroverted so we cannot seem to not talk.But as one is more introverted and quiet, I must confess that I too have trouble listening at times.
Sometimes I struggle to listen when someone is coming to me with the same problem time and again and seems to prefer to dump on me emotionally rather than change the behavior that has caused them to need to once again dump on me emotionally.It gets tiring and frustrating for me.
Which makes me wonder how God feels when I do the same thing?Does He get as frustrated with me as I get with others?I don't think He does but I do not want to presume or assume anything.I too struggle to listen even though I am a more quiet person.
I come to God,in prayer,most often in writing form,for it suits me and my personality.Talking out loud to Him is hard when one lives in a really small space that is also inhabited by one husband and 2 cats.
So I write to God.And I ask for answers.I ask for clarity.And I should wait for an answer but I often don't.It's most often due to those other voices in my mind talking to me,reminding me of all the other things that need to be done here around our apartment.And those voices win more often than I care to admit to.
And yet,the ability to listen,really stop and listen is such a necessity in this overly noisy world we dwell in.Listening to others is important but to learn to listen to God is far more important.He is the One who matters most.He is the One who can give peace.He is also the One who really and truly loves us like no other.We will see that,feel that,know that if we just listen.If I just listen.
When I began posting here again recently I really thought it would be with more frequency but,as you can see,that did not happen.Life happened,or should I say my responses to life happened and I just did not feel like posting here.Instead what I felt was overwhelmed with a kind of sorrow.The kind that makes you want to just play solitaire for hours on end instead of unburdening your soul through writing.
And the source of this sorrow?For me, it was the knowledge of friends dealing with cancer.Women I have known for a long time,both who love God with their lives,battling breast cancer.And wondering about the seeming injustice,the unkindness of God to allow this to beat upon their lives.I just did not understand it all and this made me sad for my friends.And I wept when the neighbor told Steve of her 21 year old granddaughter's battle with breast and ovarian cancer.I guess having had uterine cancer myself in 2004 makes me sensitive to this.
And this sorrow of soul was also caused by my having to quit college due to a medical issue that is exacerbated by sitting at my desk for long periods of time.And yet I did that very thing when playing solitude for hours on end.I sat at my desk.For a long time.I should have been elevating my legs instead,so the venous stasis leg wound could heal.Husband seems happy I am not in school and actually said he thought it was a phase that I went through that I am now over.I do not know when I will return to school but it is definitely not a phase.
I was also saddened by our van.And it's many issues.And it's too many trips to the shop in recent days.I know it's old(1994) and I am aware that it is not as serious as the things previously mentioned.But it was just another thing to wear on my soul.When Jesus said that it's the little foxes that spoil the vine,He was not kidding.The vine that is my life was in danger of withering.I was beginning to think ill of Him.But,I am now,by an act of my will,clawing my way back to that place of trust and faith in Him.It's not an easy road to come back from,at least not for me,but I know it's imperative that I do make way back,so I will.
"No that I speak in regard to need,for I have learned in whatever state I am to be content."
New King James Version
I was talking to Steve today as we enjoyed a leisurely drive in the country near our apartment in Salem,Oregon.As I am a pondering,musing kind of woman my thoughts turned to the issue of contentment.When I am on a drive,with my sweetheart of nearly 20 years,in the beautiful countryside,I am nearly as content as I can be.For me this is sheer bliss.I was not worried about the gas were were wasting nor was I thinking about having to face rush hour traffic in the morning for I was content.And at peace.And I began to talk to Steve about my pondering.I told him I did not miss having to awaken to an alarm every morning or face a long or even short drive to work on a Monday morning.I did not miss being away from home 8 or 10 hours a day.And I definitely did not miss nylons and high heels and make-up for we are retired.And finally enjoying it.But we did not retire in the way I would have planned it.No,we were forced into an early retirement due to a down turn in Steve's health in 2002 which preceded a downturn in my health in 2003.And when it all began,and our world began to unravel,at the seams,it appeared,I was anything but content.No,I was sad,fearful and even angry.I missed the regular income,even though it was small by most people's standards of living.I missed the esteem that comes from being able to go out and make your own wages.I wondered how we would make it,and at times I wondered if we would even survive.We both had what I call close calls,near misses with our health.We both faced things that could have taken our physical lives(Steve with heart trouble and I with cancer of the uterus). These issues caused a landslide of life changes that we were ill prepared for.We had to go on welfare for a season.This not only dealt a huge blow to our pride but it also began to unravel any contentment we may have had even a shred of.And this discontentment went deep for a long time.Why was God allowing these things?What on earth had we done wrong?Would life ever be the same again?All these questions assaulted my mind day and night.And in all honesty all they did was add stress to an already stressful situation.Contentment seemed to be an elusive dream.A unobtainable reality.I begged God to change the circumstances and even asked Him,in the early days,to take us home to be with Him.But He did not give in to my childish whims,He did not acquiesce to my desperate pleadings.He just listened.And He comforted me.And ever so slowly He also began to change me.And He began to show me how to make a life and not just a living.And it's taken most of these 10 years to do this work in me.Pride runs deep even when you do not have much by this world's standards.And discontentment is as old as time.Adam and Eve were plagued with it in the garden of Eden where they had been given all they could ask for and yet they wanted the one thing God told them they could not have.That's discontentment my friends.It's an age old enemy that I still battle from time to time but thankfully,on days like today,when it's warm and the sun is shining I can be content.I can choose to be content and it starts with being grateful.You may have to begin small.I know I did.I started by being thankful for the new day.A new day of life.And it may take some time for it to be worked into your heart and life but contentment,even in bad circumstances is possible.For us much has not changed.We still live on husband's disability income,still go to a food bank once a month and still get some help from the state for food,medical and housing.But I am finding more contentment when I choose contentment and gratitude.And contentment brings peace.And we all know this world needs more peace.
It's been just over 2 years since I have posted anything here at this blog.I thought I would not return to it.Ever.But perhaps God has other ideas.Other plans.All I know at this point is that the desire to blog once again has returned so I am listening.This last 2 years have been a real journey as is life most all the time. :)It's been full of sunshine and shadows,good and bad,twists and turns.There have been changes of all kinds.We no longer watch our granddaughter regularly as she is now 11 and is schooled at home now.It's been a good decision for all concerned.It's too bad though that the public school she attended did not have stricter policies in place against bullying.I started college and was getting straight A's but had to leave due to a medical condition called"venous insufficiency"that is exacerbated by sitting for great lengths of time.It was a painful decision but a necessary one.I am still hopeful that I will return and get that creative writing degree that I desire.:) I wish I could say that this journey this last 2 years has been all sunshine and roses.But it has not.The truth is there have been more clouds than I would have chosen.There are days I just really hate the limitations that it seems this life has thrown at me(and my husband). I am discovering that I do not always respond well to the storms of life no matter how long I have endured them.It seems I can never be fully accepting of them in this journey we take while here on planet earth.Perhaps this is God's way of reminding me(oh so often)that this earth is not our true home.It is merely the place we dwell on our way to our true home.Heaven.