Apr 11

Are you as contented as a 2-year-old?

A few years ago I was eating breakfast on the deck with my oldest grandchild, Bauer, 2½ at the time. Thanks
to my husband’s green thumb, the deck was bursting with beautiful blooms. As I stumbled around, chiding my foggy brain to wake up, little Bauer let out a small toddler sigh.

“It’s lovely out here,” he said with a sweet smile. “We have everything we need.”

Ah, contentment.

A bowl of multigrain Cheerios with milk, a Lightning McQueen sippy cup of O.J., the beauty of nature and a day with grandma—what more could you possibly need?

Maybe a clear PET scan? How about a drop in the tumor marker? No more medicine side-effects would be nice. An insurance company that didn’t balk at paying for what the doctor ordered would be really great.

It’s difficult to have childlike contentment when we live in a grown-up world where in the U.S. alone every 30 seconds a new cancer diagnosis is made and every 65 seconds someone develops Alzheimer’s. It’s never easy to find contentment while watching a loved one deal with a physical assault on his/her body—especially knowing we are helpless to stop it.

My dear friends Don and Jean, longtime members of the church my husband founded, know all too well how Image may contain: 2 people, including Jean Hessler Abbey, people smiling, people sitting and indoorit feels to have your world turn upside down and to frantically search for contentment again.

Both retired school teachers, Jean was diagnosed with inoperable, stage 4 non-small cell lung cancer at Christmas time 2013.

“I was shocked,” she recalls. “I thought I was too healthy to get cancer. I was doing all the ‘right’ things to be a healthy person—never smoking, eating right, exercising, weight control, regular checkups and all that.”

Since that shocking diagnosis, both Don and Jean have tried to live in the moment, but the admonition to “take one day at a time” is “the opposite of our teaching careers,” she says. “As teachers we always had to look ahead and plan for another day.”

“Learning to live one day at a time—and live it to the fullest—has been no easy task for me,” Don acknowledges. “My mind is always ‘planning’ the future, so I have had to change the way I think about tomorrow. I’m not there 100-percent, but I’m way better than I was.

“I think both of us in our own way just turned this whole thing over to God,” Don adds. “For me it’s putting total faith in His plan—knowing it’s a perfect plan—even if I don’t understand it all.”

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I’ve thought often about my grandson’s contented sentiment, especially mornings when I sit down with my to-do list ready to organize everything that I think needs to be done that day.  Sometimes I smile to myself and say “It’s a lovely day and I have everything I need.”

Perhaps that’s a sentiment with which you could start your day? The words of a toddler could be described as childish, but if like Don and Jean, you have faith in a loving God, they can become childlike trust.

Of one thing I am certain: my soul has become calm, quiet, and contented in You
Like a weaned child resting upon his mother, I am quiet.  Psalm 131:2 The Voice

 A soul that is calm, quiet and contented in God. 

What do you need today for your soul to be content? Ask your Heavenly Father and expect His answer.

 Know this: my God will also fill every need you have according to His glorious riches in Jesus the Anointed, our Liberating King. Philippians 4:19 The Voice Bible

…for I have learned how to be content with whatever I have. I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength. Philippians 4:11-13 NLT

(If the music video doesn’t automatically load, click on https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AHe_qmo3gX4 )