Monday, April 21, 2008

Being content where you are...

My Dad was a real do-er! He never had much money, so he did whatever needed done. He also made sure his family and the "old folks" were assisted in all of their needs. And he played hard.

A Renaissance man perhaps? If so, then in a very simple, country way. He scythed hay for my horses from along the road. He sewed on a treadle sewing machine the leathers he'd wear while riding his Honda street bike. Even after his first stroke, I have pictures he sent me of very big logs that he had fallen and then decked on his property.

Square-dancing; traveling all across the United States with my stepmother in their motorhome; making homemade root beer and dandelion wine; happily visiting with his friends and playing cards.

In much later years, he sent me photos taken inside their single-wide trailer situated in a senior park. If photos were taken outside of flowers or the latest used car, they'd be framed by the window through which they were shot. I remember, even then, my sad wistfulness for my once-active father, how he used to send me photos of Laramie, Wyoming or Truth or Consequences, New Mexico. Suddenly, his photos were of the trailer-house hallway; the hydrangea outside the bedroom window; the framed photos on the wall above the dining room hutch.

And I recall noticing how much his world had shrunk.

Today, I was searching for batteries for my ever-hungry digital camera in order to take a shot of an incredible tulip center which has opened wide on my windowsill. And it hit me: I'm where my Dad was at (though he was much older than I at the time). My world has decreased in size.

We never know how broad our worlds are until they are gone. We go about each day doing this, doing that, following routines and our lives are filled with so much, though we may not think so. Walking to the post office; driving to the grocery store; meeting friends for lunch.

In my case, I worked physically very hard on a ranch for about 10 hours each day; I kept my house reasonably clean; I was a part of an active band which involved weekly rehearsals; I toured about the country performing cowboy poetry; I attended weekly jam sessions and then met occasionally with girlfriends for lunch or dinner and a movie. I hauled my horse up into the mountains for long forays.

I would not have described my life as broad or eclectic. Somehow, I was able to do these things with gusto and do them pretty well. And still enjoy multi-dimensional events with my family: airshows, car shows, melodramas, hikes.

Today, I made one foray from the house, 30 feet out to the bird feeder to offer pieces of pancake left over from the breakfast my husband had made. But I kept busy on little things, flitting slowly from this to that, but within a smaller perimeter. And I am content.

I'm reminded of a Scripture which always held meaning for me, but then, it was easy to be content with the life I had! Yet, today, I'm also content. It's just taken me some years to reach that point.

Philippians 4:11 "Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. (12) I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. (13) I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."

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