Today is a bright, sunny and potentially warm day, and I have much for which to be thankful. It is probably time to make a list, in no particular order:
- I am married to the most beautiful, fun, cheerful, kind and interesting woman that I have been able to find on the planet, and she really seems to love me!
- I have five delightful, godly children, three of whom have already trusted Jesus with their hearts.
- My oldest son is well on his way to becoming a man of God.
- My oldest daughter has a passion for truth and righteousness.
- My middle son is always seeking an opportunity to help.
- My youngest son patterns kindness to his little sister.
- My youngest daughter is obedient and loves to laugh.
- All of my children are healthy, happy, and seem to be developing well.
- I own a home (well, perhaps 1/4 of a home) in a beautiful, remote mountain valley.
- I have a new job that provides challenge to my mind.
- My brain is capable of complex thought and is adept at making sense of a large amount of information.
- I have a number of good friends.
- My health is reasonably good.
- I am able to move and walk and see and hear and taste and feel and (when allergy season is over) smell.
- I don’t have any significant chronic pain.
- I have hope — a firm expectation that God will take care of me in this life and that He will raise me up to live with Him forever, after I die.
- I have the complete Bible, that helps me know how to live in a way that pleases God.
- I am capable of enjoying beauty, like the Olympic mountains looming over the ferry terminal as I leave Bainbridge.
- I have good relationships with my parents and my wife’s parents.
- God loves me. He wants the very best for me.
- I am being conformed to the personality of Jesus.
- My wife is willing to stay home and homeschool our children.
- I have a fresh new haircut.
- Apart from what I owe on my house, I have hardly any debt.
- I have the opportunity to begin attending a fun new church.
- My wife and I have built good communication skills and a strong, healthy marriage.
- I am able to find much to laugh about in life.
- I have a car that has not (yet) failed to get me to and from the bus stop.
I could probably go on and on. Strange how easy it is to forget the good things and concentrate on the negative — give me a severe toothache and I’ll tell you that life isn’t worth living.
After I got out of the Army, I foolishly joined the National Guard, under the misguided impression that the State of Virginia would help to pay off some of my student loans. For reasons best known to the State, that financial assistance never materialized — but I was assigned to an artillery unit just outside of Richmond. One weekend in the middle of a Fall semester at William and Mary, I was called out on a field exercise. We spent Friday & Saturday nights out in the woods. Due to poor planning, we were provided with no equipment except our field jackets. It was unseasonably cold that weekend — I spent most of both nights pacing around the forest and shivering. When I got back to the dorms, I wanted nothing but a long, hot shower.
Before I left for the field exercise, I had been deeply worried about several papers and exams I had in the near future. Spending a few nights laying on the cold, damp ground, really brought my life back into perspective. If you have food, clothing, and shelter, you’re well ahead of many and you probably have enough to be happy, if only for a little while.
I think a big part of contentment is thankfulness — I feel much more content just having written this blog entry.