Mom Dot tells me that she is named Dorothy Alice after her aunt, Agnes Alice.
When Aunt Agnes lost her husband, she went to live with her sister. But no matter how her sister tried to please her, the story goes, she was not happy. "Agnes refuses to be content," she told Mom Dot one day many years ago when they saw one another at a family funeral.
Much like Cousin Fernie, Agnes has become an icon in our family. "Agnes refuses to be content" is a family motto of sorts.
We all have our moments, or even seasons, of discontentment. But I strive not to be like Agnes, and I encourage my children to do the same.
When we moved to Norwich, a small town in upstate New York, for instance, I felt I had to go looking for contentment. Surely it was an hour away, I thought, like the mall, the nearest city, and the airport.
But I soon discovered if I looked for the negatives during that season of transition, I would find them. Ditto with the positives. I looked and I found them.
These days, it is the weather that is making me squirm... or freeze. Today, for instance, our high hovered around thirty degrees. This makes me wrestle with discontentment when most of the country is thawing. But, as some of my Facebook friends pointed out, the sun is shining and spring is forecasted to show up any day now. Contentment is attainable- I just need to look up at the blue sky instead of down at the old, cold, dingy snow.
Finding contentment can be the difference between calm and turmoil.
It is the mom who says "get the camera" vs. "get the mop" when the baby dumps spaghetti on her head.
It is recognizing dirty kids, dirty laundry, and dirty dishes are signs of blessing.
Contentment is a powerful thing, a choice, a gift. And I have discovered that in the every day routine of life, it can be found if you look for it.
There is a good chance of our family is relocating this summer. While moving always has its challenges, I am up for it. I will unpack the bags, the kids, the dog, and the cats.
Then, unlike Aunt Agnes, I will not refuse to be content. Consequently, no matter how many moves we make or where we land, I know I'll find it every time.
I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength. Philippians 4: 12-13