Sunday, March 8, 2009
I heard a word today that has really made me stop and think..contentment. I have to be completely honest, it's not a word that has come to my mind lately...not for at least five years. At first, I thought about just letting the word play around in my gray matter for awhile and let it pass, but it hasn't. And I'm pretty certain that it's not going to until I put voice to it.
At first thought, the word simply brought to mind the question of whether or not I'm "just OK" with where I am in life right now. But as I looked the word up for a more complete definition, it means more than just being "OK"...it's a satisfaction with where you are in life.
There are a lot of things that I'm extremely satisfied/content with. I am probably more emotionally healthy right now than I've been in many years. I've come to the place in my life where I've acknowledged and accepted where I've come from and how those experiences have shaped and molded me. And I've recognized that I've made a lot of changes in my life over the past several years.
My probation officer decided that it was time to pay me a visit on Friday and stopped by my home here. She hadn't seen me face to face in almost a year. As she stepped in to my house, she commented that it was the first time that she had been in my new place and that it was really nice. I thanked her...because it is. As we visited, I commented that we hadn't seen each other for a while and her response was a little unexpected...though very pleasing. She simply said it was because I was doing the things that I need to be doing and she didn't feel a need to check up on me constantly.
As we continued to visit and she asked about all that was going on in my life, she said she was amazed at how much I had changed, even in the past eighteen months that she has known me. I've made friends, become involved and avoided isolation. I've re-established relationships with my brothers and sister...and maintained relationship with Paula. And...I'm not hiding from who I was.
The truth is, I have changed. I journaled a lot during the six months before I went into prison and Paula gave me all of my journals when I was released. I was reading through one of them a week or two ago and I would read from my own words how difficult it was to accept the things that I had done...and the things that had been done to me. There was an anger beneath the surface of my writing...mostly at myself. And there was a lack of acceptance that I would have...and could have been the man who was sent to prison.
I won't say that prison broke me...but I have been broken. It was by the truth. I had to be willing to look honestly at my life and my feelings...things I had never been willing to do before because there was simply too much pain and confusion by looking in those dark closets. But I looked anyway. I had to...not out of curiosity, but out of a need for healing. In the deepest recesses of my heart, I know that God knew that I needed time and a place to find peace and it wasn't going to come by working a 24/7/365 job. It wasn't going to come by looking for escape in an Internet chat room. It would only come by seeking, finding and accepting truth in my life.
And that's where my contentment lies tonight. I still want more for my life because I believe God wants more for my life. I don't want to be alone and lonely every night. I long to be sharing my life with someone to love. I have a story to tell and I believe there will be a time, a place and a platform for that story to be told. But, if there isn't any more than what I have right now, I am OK with that. My life has been full. I have experienced things that fill books and movies portray to millions through film. I have received the gift of Life that does truly satisfy my soul. I know who I am...and I like him.
Photo from Flickr