Friday, January 13, 2012

Contentment

One of the things about living on an island is that you are just there. It may sound odd but if you have ever lived on a small island you know what I mean about just being there. Living in the States people cover miles a day in their car, pass from neighborhood to neighborhood, city to city in just a matter of moments. Very few live, work and play in the same place, with the same people day after day. If you live on a small island however that is the case. Our island is shaped like a horseshoe and is 3.5 miles from tip to tip and a half mile wide. If you are a runner the longest course is a 10k which is sufficient for most needs.

One of the things to learn living on a small island is how to be there, that is content with what you have, who you have and where you are. That isn't to say we all don't love getting mail with new items like magazines and things we can't buy here. However, no matter how much mail one gets it doesn't change the fact that you need to learn a certain degree of contentment or you can go a little crazy. In the States life moves so fast and is so varied that we can evade a lot of those basic issues. If we aren't content we can just go to a new mall or go the movies or go out to dinner. We just move from thing to thing, not really reflecting on why we aren't content. While life is busy here (no joke, really I'm serious) it is all still here. Which brings us back to contentment.

What really makes a person content? That is a question that island living can teach you if you are willing to listen. I am not saying that people here are any more content than in the States, perhaps less so since we have fewer distractions. Being here, living life in one place has a way of revealing things which might not being revealed living another lifestyle. The Benedictines talk about the vow of stability, being committed to one place and one community for life. I am beginning to understand why.

Contentment doesn't come from riding a bike to work, scuba diving regularly, making money or the other reasons people like life here. There are never enough dives, money or whatever...No, contentment comes from learning to live grounded in where you are and being who you are. That level of contentment is a gift from God through Jesus. Living a life following Jesus has a depth to it that nothing else brings. It settles deep into our being and we know that we are being held, helped and guided through life no matter where we are. We know that a life given to following Jesus isn't wasted which brings a deep peace. The more we get to know Jesus the more we encounter the continual gift of forgiveness, mercy and love. We grown to know deeply how loved and cherished we are. This is where we can rest and be content. We can experience this on a little island, in the big city or in the country. It is a gift offered to all, regardless of background or knowledge or mistakes. Jesus invites all to follow him.

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