Contentment Can’t be Bought

“Life, we think, is simply a series of tasks to perform, a list of things to do: get the job, buy the house, finish the degree, have the children, do the work. It takes years to figure out, if we ever do, that life is not a task at all. Life is far more difficult than that. Life is the process of coming to see what is not seeable, to hear what is not said, to become what we are but never knew we were.”

Joan Chittister, Welcome to the Wisdom of the World

Reflection is one of the most powerful tools we have to increase our ability to make life giving decisions.  It is only when we take the time to look beyond what can be seen with the eye to what is happening behind the scenes of a situation that we really grow.

I have been in a reflective state all week, pondering not only where I have been but where I am going.  I am looking for just the right path to take me where I want to go.  But in all the discerning, I am beginning to realize that there is no wrong path, because any path I choose will provide me with skills and experiences that will take me to the next place in my life.  It doesn’t matter if I become a writer of family history or write sales copy. It doesn’t matter what kind of topic I choose to speak about.   It is not the doing that matters.  It is the person I become in the act of doing that matters.

It is through life experiences that we truly discover what we are made of.  I think back to the year I was recovering from illness.  I was not able to work, and often felt like a burden on my family because I was not bringing money into our budget.  What I had to learn was that who I am makes a difference, not what I do.  I am still learning to absorb that wisdom because I still struggle with this issue, especially since I am still looking for a way to contribute income to the family.  But I also know that whatever path I choose,  it is not the doing that makes me who I am.  It is the ability to be content with life no matter what comes my way.  It is knowing that time spent with family and friends make me rich.  It is knowing that my presence in the world is enough.  And that is truly a life long process.

“It is not simply having life that determines the quality of our lives. It is learning to let it go, one phase at a time, that determines the measure of our contentment, the value of our insights, the caliber of our faith.  Learning to be more than what we have or do is the real beginning of life. “

Joan Chittister, Welcome to the Wisdom of the World