Thursday, October 4, 2012

Day 273, October 4

To be content with little is difficult; to be content with much, impossible.

Marie von Ebner-Eschenbach

Does this sound counter-intuitive to you?  I had to read it a couple of times to understand the wisdom in the words.  Around the third reading, I got it. 

What happens when we have everything we ever wanted?  Are we more content, more satisfied with our lives, ourselves?  If you can answer "yes" to this question, congratulations.  You have it all together.  I find that when I find I have eveyrthing I want, I am discontent, for the striving, the trying, the struggling is absent.

Something else happens, as well.  When we have everything, or close to it, we start finding fault with those possessions.  They begin to look shabby; they aren't as good as what a friend has; they aren't up-to-date.  Or, we allow those possessions  to control us.  We think, "Oh, I can't sit on my new sofa" or "I can't use that new purse.  What if I get it dirty?"

Over the years, my family has lived on very little.  And sometimes we have lived on much more.  I noticed something when I compared those times:  we weren't any happier during the "fat" times than we were during the "lean" times.  I know:  that isn't  particularly startling and certainly not original with me.  But it caused me to realie that possessions don't define who we are.  What we believe in, what we value, whom we love--they define us.

This I know for sure:  being content is found in our hearts, not in our stuff.

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