Monday, 9 June 2014

G.K. Chesterton: Contentment


'The word content is not inspiring nowadays; rather it is irritating because it is dull.
True contentment is a thing as active as agriculture. It is the power of getting out of any situation all that there is in it. It is arduous and it is rare.'




A couple of years ago I had the opportunity to visit a place where I'd lived for three years. For those three years I'd felt like a lump of clay on the Potter's wheel. Not pretty, unusable, messy, and dull.
Going back and showing my family the different places I'd lived when I was there, remembering people who had been a part of my shaping and firing; walking through the township and seeing the old buildings, the beautiful parks, the river front - I thought, "I don't remember this place being so lovely."
I suddenly realised how much beauty I had missed because my eyes had been only on the vulgar lump of clay and all its irregularities.
I was jarred by the thought that I hadn't made the most of my time in that place. That experience was gone and would never come to me again. I hadn't found the poetry in that unique experience setting. I didn't drink it dry.
I don't want to ever let that happen again.

'Thus the Suffragette will say, "I have passed through the paltry duties of pots and pans, the drudgery of the vulgar kitchen; but I have come out to intellectual liberty." The sound philosopher will answer, "You have never passed through the kitchen, or you never would call it vulgar. Wiser and stronger women than you have really seen a poetry in pots and pans; naturally, because there is a poetry in them."

When you have really exhausted an experience you always reverence and love it.

The two things that nearly all of us have thoroughly and really been through are childhood and youth. And though we would not have them back again on any account, we feel that they are both beautiful, because we have drunk them dry.'

Am I exhausting this experience I am going through now?
Will I be able to look back and know that I experienced the beauty of this place, for this season of my life?
Will I Iet this experience go through me - the difficulties, the pain, the dullness - and drain the cup dry?
I want to see the poetry in my pots and pans.

Rejoice in the Lord always...
The Lord is near...
Do not be anxious about anything...
I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances...
I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation...
I can do everything through Him who gives me strength.
Philippians 4




10 comments:

  1. That is a stimulating meditation....I always loved that quote about agriculture and contentment, but I hadn't thought about a real-life example before. Yours is very helpful.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I disagree with Chesterton a little. I am finding my adult years more beautiful. I spent too much of my youth focused on myself. I appreciate your reminder to be content and to look for the beauty around us now. I am able to do that better now.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Chesterton did say of childhood & youth that 'we wouldn't have them back on any account.' Maybe that was a reflection of what you expressed, Sharlene.

      Delete
  3. I don't hear Chesterton saying that childhood and youth are *more* beautiful than the present. He uses them as examples because they can have been "drunk dry," unlike the present, whose beauty we haven't exhausted yet.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I like your comment about the present having beauty we haven't exhausted yet. Reminds me of a quote: Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery; today is a gift. That's why it's called the Present.

      Delete
  4. Wonderful meditation! I like that about being present where we are. And I like that about there being poetry in pots and pans. There is, you know, and once we realize it we can be much more content and grateful for everything in our lives.

    I'm pinning this post so I won't forget it.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Oh my goodness I love that quote!

    Briana

    ReplyDelete
  6. Nice. I love the idea of seeing poetry in the pots and pans. I read a book a few years ago by a woman who used to hate cooking dinner. Then she realized how very important that family time around the table was, and it revolutionized the way she thought about cooking. I think this is talking about the same thing. Thanks for sharing it!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Wonderful reflections and quotes, Carol. I've shared it on my Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/whateverislovelyalso, to encourage others. I always enjoy reading here.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Heather. Kind of you to say so.

      Delete