Part of the Mary Moment Monday series
Not so long ago, I was talking to a wise woman in my life and she made an offhand comment that has stayed with me:
“It takes a lot of maturity to be happy with what you have.”
We were having a discussion about mostly material things, and later in the day I started thinking about whether I am happy with what I have. By the way I complain and moan about my old farmhouse, you might think I’m not happy here. You’d be wrong; though I gripe and laugh and nitpick it, I really do consider myself quite content within its drafty corridors.
But am I happy with the other things in my life? Am I content with the role I play with my kids, the work I do (in home and out), the material aspects of life that may (or may not) be what I envision for myself?
As I was thinking about how much “what I have” encompasses — family, friends, home, vehicles, pet, gadgets, clothes, dishes, toys — I started thinking about Mary.
Maybe it’s because I have had this week’s “Mary in the Kitchen” brewing; maybe it’s because I’m in a Joyful Mysteries mood this month; maybe it’s just more evidence that I really am a bona fide Mary geek.
Thinking about Mary made me think about humility. (If you heard last week’s “Mary in the Kitchen,” then you might see a pattern here.)
And thinking about humility brought me to this corollary:
It takes a lot of humility to be happy with what you have.
I have an ongoing lesson in humility from the Virgin Mary, and as I started connecting happiness and humility, I started to see, even more, how fickle happiness is. It’s such a moving target, dependent on the weather and your mood and so much more.
Humility, though, is a choice I make. I decide to think modestly of myself, as opposed to thinking I deserve a dishwasher or an electric garage door opener (or, for that matter, a garage). Humility isn’t thinking I’m worthless; it’s realizing I can only accomplish greatness with God’s help and grace.
Being happy with what I have — and who I am too — is a great battle in humility.
This week, I’m going to focus on the small ways I can show the people closest to me my choice to be happy and content with life as it is now. I’m betting it won’t kill me. (Though it might silence me a bit!)
Why is it that we have to concentrate on being happy with what we have? Wouldn’t you think it would just come naturally? As a dark thinker who always has to look for the bright side, I see that you are right, it takes humility to accept our lot in life and find the joy in it, without so much grumbling.
I love the picture of your farmhouse. I live in a house with a 102 year history. My husband is the complainer who always wants to move and is forever dissatisfied because he needs to constantly repair something, but I love it and wouldn’t dream of living anywhere else!
For me your post was ironically timed. Our landlord is not renewing our lease and we have to move this summer. We’ve been trying to see what is available but I admit I’m frustrated and sad over our choices for the prices. Now, we do live in an expensive area and we have an ever-growing family but you may have struck a nerve for me, an unpleasant truth. I’ve told my husband I wouldn’t mind moving if it was to someplace I wanted to move to but the truth is, since I want my own house for our family, I could complain about any place we rent. You reminded me that, I’m sure, Mary wouldn’t be complaining.