Contentment Is a Journey
By Patricia Crisafulli
With all due respect to the Founding Fathers, I’m not so sure I would have used the same language in the Declaration of Independence to describe our inalienable rights. Life? Yes! Liberty! Of course! The pursuit of happiness? Sounds like a trick question to me.
Happiness is over-rated. Now, before you click this blog closed believing I am both a curmudgeon and crazy, hear me out. Happiness is momentary, fleeting, like chasing a soap bubble before it pops. You’re bound to be disappointed. Now, if it had been up to me, I would have lobbied for the pursuit of contentment.
Contentment isn’t situational. It doesn’t depend on some outside force of surprise or delight. Contentment is internally generated, a sense that -- as those cartoon t-shirt graphics proclaim - “life is good.” When our pursuit becomes contentment, we focus more on that end-of-the-day feeling of a hot shower and a glass of cold lemonade, a sensation that settles like the sunset. No matter if things have been hectic or even stressful all day, contentment renews with the freshness of an evening breeze and the sweet smell of a garden being watered.
Happiness is a tough act. All too often in our Western society it requires things to do and stuff to buy. No matter that the Beatles told us “Money can’t buy me love,” we sure do believe it brings happiness. Happiness is rigid, with no margin for a sad song or a blue day. The stakes for happiness, my friend, are just too high for me.
Contentment, though, is no second prize in my book. It is the real deal, the nirvana of ordinary life, which is never going to be without its bumps and bruises and bitter disappointments. But contentment washes over it like water, its surface no more than rippled. Happiness may shriek like a kid at the amusement park, but contentment sighs deeply like the crooner of a jazz song: “Kick off your shoes and close your eyes. It’s all good, darling. It’s all good.”
FaithHopeandFiction is my creative home and my labor of love. I have written stories all my life. As a child, I told myself stories for entertainment, to pass the time, and for comfort. Stories were my way of interpreting and understanding the world around me and to discover the deeper meaning and lessons hidden in even the most ordinary circumstances and relationships.
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