Friday, March 5, 2010

Contentment



As I was putting the dishes up this evening, I took note of my silverware. It's not actual silver, it's stainless steel, but I became keenly aware of the pains it took me to aquire it. We married in 1995, and had only a mis-matched lot of various forks, spoons, and knives. I don't recall how many patterns were present in this accumulation, but they were the cheap, easily bent variety that were probably purchased in lots at Goodwill.



Before I married my husband I had worked at a department store in Bridal Registry and took great pride in helping each bride-to-be in selecting the perfect china, crystal stemware, and silverware. I had delusions of grandure apparently, and would lazily dream of my table with every place setting in perfect order around a table of plenty.



Well, that didn't happen. In the beginning of our marraige, I can't say we were poor. Perhaps strapped for cash frequently, frugal because we had no other choice, but poor? No. We were content. We managed. But I'll openly admit I look forward to the day, joy oh joy, when I would have a matching set of silverware! I never said a word about it to my husband who worked so hard to provide for our family and childrens needs. He probably never gave it a thought...

We had not one but TWO older model cars, a 3 bedroom apartment, and the ability to have a garden in the back behind a shed. All our children were healthy, we had all the hamburger and balogna we could eat, and there wasn't a thing to complain about.



Time passed, and over the next eleven years, we stayed content in our little apartment, but began dreaming of home ownership. In 2006 we applied for a loan with a great interest rate, and had saved enough to put a down payment on the home we had dreamed for. And of course- I ran out and bought my matching silverware, and gave my old utensils to Goodwill, in a sort of utilitarian reincarnation of sorts.


Over the past few years I've bought curtains, and a sofa and loveseat... a new bed. .. But mostly, the majority of our furniture is still the odds and ends we had in our apartment! Aren't I supposed to want more? I've oddly become attached to it over time and dont really see a need to purchase furniture that will probably be out of style in 7 or 8 years. Yet I see ads in the paper for very trendy decor, and I see people who actually RENT televisions, livingroom furniture, etc... and the trendy advertising seems to suggest that we somehow deserve THE BEST, and will be happy with 50" flatscreen. Happy? No, I don't think so.
Of course there is nothing wrong with quality. I try very hard to put thought into the purchases I do make, and keep myself informed of the what brand is better than another, and which shampoo REALLY works the best. Consumer Reports is a great publication to help you make wise descisions. Honestly, noone wants to own junk... and noone wants to constantly be repairing a car or appliance. But don't you think we can get by on a lot less if we put our mind to it?



A content person makes the choice to be content. Contentedment IS happiness. Happiness is not having newer, shinier, trendy furnishings or even cars to drive. All will eventually loose their shine, and find themselves in a second hand shop, or used auto lot. All of it.



So as I stare at my silverware, I laugh because I am no happier with the place setting for 8 (minus one spoon eaten by a garbage disposal), than I was with my hodge-podge set I had before! Nothing I buy will make me content. I am content with what I have. So as I close with this topic, I ask you to look around you own home, and just be grateful for what we do have, which in THIS country, is more than enough.


Be content.


Blessings,

Sister Kelly
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