Chasing the windBy loreen sarmiento
Cebu Daily News
Several years ago, a Texas cheerleader’s mother wanted to see her daughter win a spot on the high school cheerleading squad. In her earnest desire, she ended up hiring a hit man to kill her daughter’s rival. She resented so much somebody else’s position over her daughter that she destroyed it. She is still in a Texas prison serving her sentence. This mother wasn’t contented with what her daughter that she was willing to kill. But what she did took her out of her daughter’s life completely. By desiring deeply in a wrong way, she lost even what she had.
Zoom in to our own country. Weren’t there stories of students committing suicide because they failed to pass the exams or got rejected in love? In this fast-paced world where everything is operated instantly and automatically, young people don’t know anymore what patience is all about. My own son, in his mid-twenties, questioned why his career growth was slow. He wanted to become a manager right away. He’s been working for less than four years.
The point is people continue to be discontented with what they have or who they are.
The classic example is a lady with straight hair drooling over the curly locks of a friend. She goes to a parlor to have her hair curled. Another lady, born with wavy hair, saves up money to afford hair rebonding to straighten it. If God was to speak, He would ask “ Make up your mind, ladies!”
It’s not only women. Some men have eyes that stray, looking at other women and worse, geting into extra-marital affairs. Why can’t he be a contented family man loving his wife?
Ecclesiastes 6:9 states: “It is better to be content with what the eyes can see than for one’s heart always to crave more. This continual longing is futile, like chasing the wind.”
The New Living Translation (NLT) states this more simply: “Enjoy what you have rather than desiring what you don’t have. Just dreaming about nice things is meaningless—like chasing the wind.”
I used to struggle in life. I wanted to achieve more than others and to acquire the best stature in life more than my relatives who looked down on us. The process was tiring. I became hard on my self and I wasn’t totally happy even if I got what I dreamed of.
I was discontented because I had nothing and I was still discontented when I already had something.
When I had nothing, happiness for me is having stuff in life and showing people what I got. But I realized that true happiness was about being contented with my present situation. As content “as trees in a rain forest” (Max Apple) and“ like “a little white kitty in a basket”(Eudora Welty). Why can’t I wear contentment “like a wreath” asks Barbara Howes.
The Thesaurus defines “contentment” as “happiness with one’s situation in life”. So let’s always remind ourselves that:
*Contentment does not reside in stuff. It is only about people, about integrity, about love.
* Enjoy what you have. There is an immediate beauty to the world around us, a wonder. Breathe it in. Perhaps this is what King Solomon meant when he wrote, “Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time.”
* Don’t expose yourself to too many advertisements. They easily influence you to look at yourself as inadequate. They want you to patronize their products to be noticed.
* To be contented, open yourself to being loved, and, at some deep spiritual level, accept yourself. Do not think you’re not good enough but greatly enough.
* Find contentment in God. While in prison, the apostle Paul’s letter to the Philippians said, “I have learned the great secret of life, how to be content. Whether it is the highest of highs or the lowest of lows, I am content because I am in Christ Jesus. I have strength for anything that life brings my way, because of the one who give me the power to life.”
I believe in what St. Paul said because when I learned to embrace the goodness of my life (even amidst problems), I began to live with a sense of purpose and deep contentment knowing that God made me for something beyond today, more than who I am now or what I have now. So why crave for things in this world?
Stop chasing the wind.
You’ll never catch up with it. So be contented. Be real.