Friday, February 18, 2011

Beginning, Remaining and Being Grateful

Years ago, I married my dear wife, and we began a home...the process of making a life together. Just now, I put my grandchild down for a nap after a morning of fun with her. I cherished the brief cuddle before placing her in her bed. And what of the in-between times?

Those have been times of remaining.

Most of Life
It seems to me that most of our life is spent in remaining. Our days are marked with beginnings. Where I live, we will soon plant spring gardens. And planting will mark only the beginning.

An ancient teacher and Christian scripture writer said that he had learned to be content no matter his circumstances. I guess that is what I am seeing to know.

Planting a seed is a mere matter of poking it into the earth. But the toils which follow are worked out midst hotter, more humid days--days of pulling weeds, swatting mosquitos, hoeing and watering. Long hours of sweat are given for each moment of planting and each taste of harvest. They are days of remaining.

Most of life is spent "in the mean time." Most of our time is invested in the process of remaining.

Harvests and Gratefulness
The days come at the end of growing cycles when we reap harvests from our gardens. Our planting and our remaining reap dividends at last. These are days of gratefulness. It is easy to be thankful with a counter mounded with fresh produce. Harvests are a natural time to be grateful.

But what about the in between times?

Here's the Trick!
I'm learning to be grateful for the process. To enjoy the remaining. To be thankful "in the mean time." Between the planting and the harvest, there is a miracle happening. A seed is reproducing itself in a most helpful and self-sacrificial way. We are given the blessing of weeding, hoeing and watering to help the miracle along.

If you cannot enjoy the trickle of sweat on your back, the sun on your face and the ache after bending--and carrying--and yanking a hoe through stubborn soil; then you are not cut out to be a gardener.

The trick is to enjoy the process. The joy is in the journey--as much as it is in the dreaming before, and arriving later at the destination. Gratefulness cannot be reserved for "some day." It is to be ours today!

I'll Be Happy When...
So when will you be happy? At what point will you be able to drop your somedays, and rejoice in your todays?

My granddaughter is sleeping peacefully. My beautiful wife is with me enjoying this day off. My son is throwing his unique dignity into new a piece of pottery. My daughter is passionately teaching a classroom of children. My son-in-law is finishing a Master's Degree on his way to being an excellent school counselor.

And I am counting the joys in the midst of life. There are many beginnings behind and before me. I pray there are many finishes and harvests ahead. But in this "mean time," I am remaining.

And after my beginnings and before my harvests--as I stand remaining in the mean time, I am learning to be grateful.


Brian W. said...

Excellent. It seems that we are more content when we are grateful. If we can be grateful during the remaining, perhaps we can experience more consistent, lasting contentment.

david said...

Thanks Brian. Contentment is a difficult skill for me. But I'm making strides in remaining. I really like your summation here.