Today, I went out with five friends to some public land. It's an area where the hills are too steep to farm on, so the state of Iowa has designated it for hunting and recreational use. We hiked out through knee-high snow as more fell around us, and the gray sky blended perfectly with the horizon, creating a limitless world.
For almost three hours we climbed that hill and slid down it. We explored the land, putting the first tracks in that deep unspoiled snow. Every step was a fight against the sticky cold stuff that slowed our steps. Every steep spot discovered was a personal victory rewarded with moments of weightless joy. We hollered and threw snowballs at each other and were happy.
Yeah, it was fun. Until the duct tape failed. I'd taped my borrowed rain pants to my boots and suddenly it lost grip on one leg. Well, I'd continue to have fun, cold feet or no, I thought.
But on the hike back to the car an hour later, I had what felt like a gallon of ice water sloshing around my boot, and my boot was scooping in more snow with every step. The car was still a 20 minute walk away, and I was one unhappy sodden kid.
I suddenly realized how dumb I was being. I had dry socks a half-hour drive away, the greatest friends I could wish for, and a fairly-won soreness in my muscles. What more could I ask for? And I was content again. I think the discomfort in my right foot distracted me enough from all my material cares that I was able to understand contentment for a brief moment.
There's this great song that's running through my head right now:
This is my prayer in the harvest,I think contentment is something like understanding that what you have is not yours and being okay with that. A bunch of dead white guys said it this way a long time ago:
when favor and providence flow:
"I know I'm filled to be emptied again;
the seed I've received I will sow."
Question: What is thy only comfort in life and death?If you've read this far, thanks for putting up with my ill-connected thoughts and ramblings today, and I'd love to have a conversation with you about contentment. Maybe even in real life, where it makes more sense. It's on my mind a lot right now, but the blog is hardly an ideal medium for conversation about a rather intangible concept.
Answer: That I with body and soul, both in life and death, am not my own, but belong unto my faithful Saviour Jesus Christ; who, with his precious blood, has fully satisfied for all my sins, and delivered me from all the power of the devil; and so preserves me that without the will of my heavenly Father, not a hair can fall from my head; yea, that all things must be subservient to my salvation, and therefore, by his Holy Spirit, He also assures me of eternal life, and makes me sincerely willing and ready, henceforth, to live unto him. (Heidelberg Catechism)