As I was taking a walk in Patterson Park yesterday, I found myself – as usual – watching the people around me. Some women were in t-shirt dresses (the coolest business outfit I expect they could find for the day); some men were in shorts that I can only imagine had been with them since college. A few kids played on the slides, and others fed bread to the park’s resident ducks. It was a simple, quiet night.
Yet, somehow as I walked, I kept thinking I wanted to do be doing something else, not because I hate walking – I actually really enjoy it – but because this seemed so unexciting, so normal. I still – despite living a very good life – find myself wanting more. More money. More prestige. More time with the people I love. More trips. More nights doing something more exciting than watching G-Force, the talking guinea pig movie. (Yes, I did watch that, and yes, I did enjoy it.)
I just don’t seem to be able to allow myself to be content. And that’s the thing – I am not allowing myself to feel this life is enough. I am actively fighting against myself in this.
Part of this feeling is driven by the fact that I know this world is not perfect; I am aware that something better is possible. I think this is that existential angst that Kierkegaard describes. But part of it is always boredom. I have always hated to be bored, just ask my mother, the woman who I always whined “I’m bored” to as a kid. The truth is, though, that there is always plenty to do – I have books to read coming out my ears; I have essays I want to write; there’s always grading; and I have lots of friends for whom a personal note or phone call might be a nice surprise.
The problem is that I crave the “new.” I long for new experiences and new opportunities. I want to visit new places and see new things. I want to meet new people. And yet, in this moment of my life, I am here, and I know that there is something that I must need to learn here.
So I am learning to cultivate contentment. I am learning to go deeper in my love for the blessed man in my life. I am learning to show compassion to those around me by praying for instead of scowling at the dealer two doors down. I am learning to rest, wait, and listen for the whisper of the God says, “This is enough. I am enough. Glory in me and in this life I have given you now.” I am learning to know that the best is yet to come but now, well, it’s pretty amazing, too.