A rainy winter day here in the 'Ham, as some around here call our little city. Wind blowing so hard even our big lug, Jackson, doesn't want to go outside. But then, he really is a 110 lb weeny!
But I'm a pretty contented human being today. A couple of reasons: first, and this is no small matter, I don't have a headache. I repeat, though maybe I should be knocking on wood, I do not have a headache. My head's been pounding, my eyes blurry and seeking darkness for the last 5 days. Yes, five long, mind numbing, I-don't-get-those-back-again days. Sure, I've lived my life. Continued helping the elderly unpack, unload (we went through their clothes last night, and it wasn't a pretty sight. I've become pretty ruthless with them in my/their old age!), cared for our son (as much as he'll let me--he is a grown man, you know) who is having his tonsils removed Friday, made meals for the Beve and E, played with the dogs, but I'm here to tell you, most of the time I've wanted to bury my head under a pillow, fall so deeply asleep I couldn't feel it. So believe me when I tell you, it thrills my heart--and my head--that the pain is abated. However, I may be speaking too soon. Sigh. Or maybe just writing about headaches makes me think I have one.
Another reason I'm feeling good today is that we got an email from SK across the world. It warmed my mother's heart to just to see her name in my inbox, and my Anglophilic heart to hear about her trip. This morning her class went across the Thames and as their destination came into sight, SK teared up. The Globe. The rebuilt-to-historic-specifications Globe Theatre, Will Shakespeare himself made famous. In 2000, my sisters, a couple of friends and I saw 'The Tempest' with Vanessa Redgrave masterfully playing Prospero. It's like mecca to a person like me who took two years of Shakespeare in college, and actually LOVE it. SK said she learned more about Shakespeare in this morning's hour-long acting class than she ever has. It was brilliant, confirmed that she's in the right field. And I love that she's loving it. Am only the tiniest bit jealous. Really. No, really. I mean who wouldn't rather be here in rainy Bellingham than across the globe at the Globe.
But I am content here in my own little corner, because yesterday Beve and E took down the bed in J's room, brought in a big table, and now I have an actual sewing room. A dozen years ago I had a large room stuffed to the gills with sewing things. Serger, machine, cupboards full of fabric, patterns and notions. But since we moved out of that home, there's never been a designated space for this. All these quilts I've made this year were cut out on a folding card table, pieced on a small computer desk in the family room, laid out on our king-sized bed and quilted on our dining room table. Basically, I either leave stuff all over or have to repeatedly start over. I've actually been taking photos with my phone so I can figure out how a quilt's been laid out, if I have to put it away mid-project. Frankly, makes you wonder if it's worth the trouble. But now I have a room where I can leave projects, stack fabric in color-appropriate bins ('borrowed' from Grampie's place), and not have to spread out across the house. I'm telling you, this is a red-letter day.
Being content. This is something we have to learn over and over. The absence of pain, contact with those we love, a small space of our own all bring contentment. A fire in the fireplace on a rainy winter day. Warm boots in the snow. Clean sheets, a shower, an idea for a blog. An idea for dinner. Good conversations--whether deep or hard or just connecting with someone--being let in to someone else's life. There are so many things that make me content, make me certain that in all the world, I'm exactly where I'm meant to be, who and whose I'm meant to be. I've said it before, but believe it wholly, that contentment is one of the most important things in the Christian life. The sense that, no matter what is going on around us, whether good or not, we are in the right place, living and doing exactly what God intends for us: this is contentment. No matter how little, no matter how insignificant that is. Whether infirmed or healthy, whether making a global difference or a very hidden one, we are living content. As Paul says, "I have learned the secret of being content whatever the circumstances...I can do all this through Christ who strengthens me." He intends--and will strongly aid--our contentment. He promises this. This is what He strengthens us to do--be content. And you know why?
Because the world isn't. The world is always looking for something to make life better, a new toy, a new gadget, a new love, a new...more, more, more. But our contentment, our Christ-strengthened contentment in His world, His life, His...everything is like a neon sign to those around us that we are different, that we are other. We are His.