This week marks the beginning of a new quarter at Fuller and for the first time in a year and a half, I don’t have to worry about homework. I am not done yet. This is just an enforced hiatus I decided to take before we move back to the East coast. At first it seemed like an odd idea to forego my last chance to take classes on campus for a break. Yet, the more I thought about it, the more it made sense. Honestly, I don’t think this idea came from myself but has whispers of divine revelation.
So, now as we are approaching the end of our stay here in California, I find myself in a place of delightful contentment. The ghosts of the past seem to be fading and the anxieties about an uncertain future are being replaced by an adventurous hope. Adventurous because not all details are lined up and defined leaving a sense of discovery. Hopeful because, by God’s grace, I find myself looking at the future with positive eyes. I am 70% done with my degree having about 6 classes which I will complete online in the next year or so.
As I reflect on this time, I start understanding the present contentment. As the past and future seem to be less of a concern, the present gains a new levity, a lightness that simplifies life. That is, since the past is accepted and the future is hoped for, now all is left is the task of living well in the present. In the present, then, I am able to see the gift of life and relationships. I can better see the gift of my wife and kids, how they enrich life and make everything worth it. I can be present in their day-to-day, seeing our little ones grow and learning to fall in love with my wife again. As I re-engage with the Daily Office, I find myself more connected with God and God’s people through the ages. All of this reminds me what should be obvious that is the joy is much more dependent on connection than achievement. I then start moving from goal-achieving self to one that yearns to live well through connecting with others.
Honestly, connection is a poor word to represent the mysterious gift of relationships. It has more to do with technology and electricity than with the delight of communing with others. Maybe communion or fellowship are better words to start describing the richness of this reality. As I move from putting books down and looking at human eyes, I am transferred from the I-it world into the I-thou world. This way I move from possessing to relating, from defining to listening, from controlling to negotiating.
Boy, I had no clue where this blog was going and I am not so sure how to end it. Suffice it to say, that I am finding that contentment is sweetness than happiness. It is a gift that surprises unexpectedly, not something achieve and more like something we arrive to. I am just glad to have found it for now. I don’t know how much it will last , neither I am worrying about it. I am just happy to be.