Monday, May 7, 2007


That was the first word I thought about this morning. For some reason, it just popped into my head, like the voice of God. (Maybe it was, who knows?)

The word was so strong, I even said it aloud, to no one, right after my first sip of coffee.

Contentment is the gift of middle age, I think. I want for nothing, really -- other than a nice hunk of cash to pay off the debts. But do I hunger for success, the basic necessities of life, friends and family, more, more, more? Nope. I'm content. As I was cleaning house this weekend, in fact, I came upon lots of items I could do without -- things that we absolutely yearned for when we bought them. Now even greater contentment could be had in giving some of them away or in pitching them into a solid Dumpster.

So, it's often "contentment" that I seek as I reorder the disorder of the house, straightening piles of papers, discarding old socks, wiping the dust from a table. For me, golden contentment is what drives me to "contend" with the grass-stained mess of living. I think that's why I enjoy a regular weekend in solitude, so I can straighten and sift to my heart's delight.

Which is what I was doing Sunday when the phone rang.

It was son-in-law, calling daughter, who was studying at our house (which has become the library, remember?). Grandson No. 2 had taken a spill and split open his head, requiring a trip to the hospital for stitches. So down the street I headed, to stay with Grandson No. 1 while the others took off for the repair. William and I had a little lunch, chatted about chameleons and bugs in the National Geographic, watched birds ("teet-teets" is what Will calls them) from the kitchen window and listened to the 50 mph winds wailing outside. After the adrenaline rush of his brother's busted head, followed by three bowls of macaroni and cheese and a dead-quiet house, Will was asleep in seconds. With my companion crashed, I had nothing to do for two hours. I had read the paper and magazines of interest, poured myself a swallow of Chardonnay and just sat there. It occurs to me that for me, contentment dresses in an apron and holds the tools. It's task-oriented, requires a purpose, needs the polish of a job completed. I was a little itchy to get home and get something done.

And so, to finish this little tribute to contentment? Later ...

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