Contentment is a Choice
Today has been rough. Today is one of those days that makes you look back on what realistically has been a pretty good week with nothing but disdain and complaint. Today is one of those days where I find myself trying to not think about how liberating it would be to punch someone in the face. Today is one of those days where I need to do several things and all I want to do is cry and sleep. Today is one of those days where I need to workout but all I want to do is eat something salty, dipped in chocolate and wrapped in bacon. Today is one of those days where all I need and want is…well…my husband.
Being separated from him sucks. But that’s not the hardest part. I can handle being far from him. What I can’t handle is not being able to talk to him. Letters are romantic and sweet and I love that I am blessed to have his words written to me. But sometimes, letters aren’t enough. Letters would be more comforting if I could get them every day, or at least every couple days. What’s even more frustrating is that it takes 5 days for his letters to get to me, and 5 days for my letters to get to him. So our conversations literally take 10 days to complete.
I got a letter from him this past Monday. He said that he’s worried his graduation date may get pushed back since a bunch of guys in the spec ops division have the chicken pox. Thank God that Kyle’s already had them, but more than a few of his rack-mates were not as fortunate. When I read that I felt bad for the spec ops guys who have the adult version of the chicken pox – I personally have witnessed my brother in law with them and I would not wish that on my worst enemy. However, I failed to process how I felt about not knowing when I will get to see Kyle again. I’ve really enjoyed the weekly countdowns till he graduates, and now that that is not certain I feel sad and frustrated.
Apparently that frustration with this uncertainty has been looming just right under the surface, waiting for the perfect storm to rear its ugly head. This morning was sweet and beautiful and started off lovely since I was with my two best friends from high school. Kate, Jaime and I hadn’t all been together in five long years and we had A LOT of catching up to do. Kate’s oldest daughter happened to turn 5 (still tripping out over the fact that she has TWO daughters, let alone one that can just turn five like its no big deal!) while they were here in California visiting, so we had to celebrate Maia’s birthday in style. Seriously, her birthday looked like a pinterest dream on crack. We had a blast re-connecting all weekend at an olive orchard bed n breakfast, and this morning, after I helped clean up after the rather large party we threw, I decided to hit the road to start packing to head back to my in-laws’ house.
After leaving them to run errands, I spoke to my mother in law and she said that I had a letter waiting for me from Kyle at her house, and that was great news since I would be there sometime tonight. I had something lovely to look forward to. Once I got off the phone with her, I honestly wrestled with the thought of just driving there in that moment. I knew I couldn’t and shouldn’t but it’s all I wanted; I needed to read his words and see what was going on with his division and their graduation date. But it would have to wait.
From that moment on, everything today has felt like a wrestling match. I drove to the car wash place to detail my car. It hadn’t been washed since we were in North Carolina (yikes!) and I was going to be driving Jaime and her husband to southern California with me later today, so I wanted it to be cleaned. Anyway, the place didn’t do the best job, and after the car was cleaned off I noticed a few places on the car where the paint had chipped. I kept it cool on the outside but in my heart I was beginning to feel angry.
I drove home and my parents wanted me to go with them to look at a house that they were interested in purchasing. I said I would go but I needed to workout at the gym afterward so I would need to take my own car…my own car with chipping paint that’s still pretty dirty even though I paid for it to get clean…
After throwing my exercise clothes on I met them in the garage and my dad gave me the address of where we would meet up. My phone wasn’t registering the address for the GPS feature so my dad said to follow him and my mom. They left really fast and I couldn’t see where he went. He had mentioned a cross street that I was familiar with so I headed in the general direction of where I thought they would be. Once I got there twenty minutes later, I couldn’t find them. I called my dad to see where the heck they were, and it turns out that he went to a different house in another town. He was rude on the phone since he was already inside the other house with the realtor and he hastily got off the phone with me.
So at that point, I was fuming. Well, at least I could hit the gym. Or at least I thought I could. They had just closed. My gym “closes” at 11am on Saturdays but if you get in there at 11, they’ll let you work out for ½ an hour. So let’s recap shall we? I drove out to the middle of nowhere to see a house that my dad told me he was going to be at only to end up there alone and get yelled at over the phone, AND finally got to my gym 10 minutes after it closed. Had I not gone to that one area of town to support my (insert expletive) dad, I would have made it to the gym before it closed…
So I lost it. I mean, lost it. Lots of cursing and yelling in my car. Over such stupid things. I got home and decided to go on a bike ride since my gym was closed and I had a hard time getting the bike out of the garage. It was bumping into tons of things and knocking stuff over. After finally getting the God-forsaken bicycle out of the God-forsaken garage (my actual feelings in that moment) I went inside to get my iPod. And it was missing. I have no idea where it is. More cursing.
I went back outside (without my freaking iPod) and immediately got smacked in the face by…water? Rain. It started raining in the 4 minutes it took to find out that my iPod was missing. Raining in August on the Central Coast? Really? Glad I took the time and paid the money to have my car washed right before it rained. I knew my attitude was atrocious and on a movie set perhaps the sudden onslaught of rain would have been appropriate, but seriously? How freaking cliche. I hopped on that bike and rode anyway. In the rain. For 40 minutes.
While on the ride I realized that God was trying to teach me something. As you may have seen on previous blog posts, I have been learning about contentment. On that bike, in the pouring rain, the God of the Universe was gently showing me that I have the option to be content in whatever circumstances I am in. I can make the decision to be frustrated and angry and full of bitterness over things not working out perfectly, or I can choose to be content and go on an adventure with Jesus in the rain. At that point, I didn’t care if anyone was outside watching me ride, so I prayed out loud. I prayed for Kyle and for my negative, heart and attitude. I prayed that I would learn to be peaceful and grateful in the midst of chaos and frustration.
Right now I am home and still need to pack, head to the beach, and then drive one of my best friends to Southern California, where I have a letter waiting for me from the love of my life. How dare I be disgruntled over such silly things when there are such amazing things happening to me? As I finish writing this, I am grateful for the peace of God and I am genuinely thankful that He is faithful to comfort me. He leads me beside still waters (or out into the pouring rain) and restores my soul. I shall not be in want.