Do you ever wonder why some people seem to always want more? A bigger house. A better job. A higher education. More friends. More power. More responsibility. More. Always more. It seems to be the way of mankind. To improve. To do better. To win. To want more. To do more. More. Always more.
Why is it that so many people can't seem to be satisfied? To find contentment? We can become addicted to almost anything. Money, power, sex, drugs, gambling, alcohol. The more we have, the more we want.
Stop. Just stop. We can find satisfaction. We can be contented. There's a catch, though. We have to look for it. We have to seek it. Not just sometimes. We have to be dedicated, proactive, aggressive almost. We almost have to be addicted to being contented. Almost.
It's really not difficult. Contentment is everywhere we are. It's in us just as much as dissatisfaction is. Right there. Inside our brains and our souls. The thing is, again, we have to be willing to look for it. Look past the big greedy signs that point us to more. And there's the rub, as Shakespeare would say. So how?
Easy enough. Look for what is already in your life. Count your blessings. Can your family be comfortable in your home? The furniture doesn't have to be new to be comfortable. Can you all be in the same room together? Is there an outside? Surely you can all be together in the outside. Can you afford to feed your family? It doesn't have to be a restaurant meal. It only needs to fill you up. Not every day is Thanksgiving, you know. So there you are with five blessings already: home, family, furniture, food, togetherness.
Do you have a job that affords you a decent income? You don't have to be rich, just make a modest, middle-class living and pay the bills on time and you're all set. Do your children attend a decent school? Boarding school? Private school? Who needs that? They need an education, not social status or ivy league. An education that will get them into college, if that's what they want, and a decent job. There you go, finding contentment.
I learned about contentment through quilting. I know, I'm a small town girl, so I probably started out contented. No way. I started out poor and married into poor. We worked hard to put me through college. I clawed my way to dissatisfaction. Once I tasted education, I wanted more. Once I got that first decent paycheck, I wanted a bigger paycheck and fought to make a name for myself so that I could get it. We owned a small home that met all of our needs, until we decided it wasn't enough. We had three beautiful boys, but we still wanted a girl. Yea, I found dissatisfaction and apparently I needed more.
Then I began quilting on a more regular basis. The boys had outgrown any thought of wearing clothing made by mom. I had a closet full of dresses that were tailor-made for me. I know they fit perfectly: I'd made them and got plenty of approval from people whose opinions counted.
So quilting it was. And through quilting with my mom and grandmother, I learned the joy of sharing a craft they loved. I couldn't always afford to purchase fabric, so we traded and shared and I knew they loved me dearly. Wow, that was a contented feeling. As I learned new skills their encouragement, even for my worst attempts, helped me to grow. I began reading and studying their books and magazines and learned the satisfaction of teaching myself. Eventually I lost them. But their memories and lessons and comfort stayed behind and I held on to those.
Mostly though, I began to see that my life was what I made of it. I could find a small bit of joy, even when everything seems like sadness. I could choose to be happy, even when I couldn't keep up with everyone else. I could choose to be grateful, even when others chose otherwise. I found peace of mind in knowing that even in dark hours I can find light and serenity. If only I look for it.
Quilting teaches me...