Monday, 15 September 2008

Meetings and musings

Well, I spent the whole morning at a school meeting and came home exhausted from having to use my brain quite so much! There were only four of us at the meeting and so a significant amount of brain power was required but we did achieve a successful outcome! Instead of doing anything too active this afternoon, I ate my lunch (I was starving as I stupidly forgot to eat any breakfast!) and then worked on some flyers for the school children to take home about the coffee morning next Friday. I crossed my fingers that the my printer had enough ink left in it to do 110 copies, and left it to churn them out whilst I went to the local shop to ask if they would like to donate some tea bags or coffee. The lady in the shop kindly gave me a big box of tea bags, but I was given the coffee as well by a neighbour. God says "Ask, and you will receive," but I am not sure miracles extend to cakes to go with the coffee - let's just hope He gives me the energy to do some baking on Thursday and blesses the event with a lot of people coming along and spending money so that the charity does well out of it. I'd be satisfied with that.

Satisfied. That is a good word. I have been reading a Bible study about it today, and it seems that NOT being satisfied is a big problem in this world in which we live. There are too many people whose physical hunger and thirst is not satisfied because of circumstances beyond their control such as drought, famine and disasters such as civil wars - these things especially are happening in Africa. Unfortunately there is a "satisfaction" problem in the developed world as we who have so much want more, and therein lies the root of the problems of debt, and divorce, to name just two examples. I knew a very wise woman in Scotland years ago who struggled with five children, a very small house, and a husband who was of a philanthropic turn of mind who didn't really earn enough to support his family, let alone be generous towards others. She asked God to make her content with where she was in her life, and thanked Him for his gifts to her; she always had an air of serenity that was surprising in a woman with so many challenges in her life. She was grateful for anything that anyone did for her - the FH acquired a small length of kitchen work surface for her from a mutual friend and installed it in her kitchen where she had only had a piece of rough wood previously, and one would have thought he had given her the world, so pleased with it was she. It did make her life easier as it gave her a more hygienic place to knead her bread, and prepare food.

I once heard of a style of interior decorating called "Early Marriage". I doubt that it will ever catch on as being very fashionable - but it should! It involves accepting anything that you are given and making use of it, buying things secondhand and being creative. It is probably supposed to only go on until the couple get themselves established, but some of us have gone on with it longer than others!! My children laughed when I told them that our first TV stand was a cardboard box turned upside down and covered in a cloth! It did the job, though!

I think that most of us, myself included, would be better for being more content or satisfied with what we have and who we are now, rather than striving to be someone else, or to acquire material goods. There is no way that we are going to take it all with us when we die, so there is little to be gained by being miserable in the pursuit of riches, especially if it means that our lives are less than they could be. We live on what, for this country, is a relatively low income, but whilst I would love cash available for upgraded cars, holidays abroad, seasonal new clothes, it is more important to me that we have a thankful heart for what we do have - a loving family, a comfortable house to live in, a safe neighbourhood, friends, enough food to eat, and time to share in the community. I have a degree and could probably get a job that would allow us to have more material things, but I worry that we would lose some of the other things - would I have time to spend with the FGs and FH, would I be able to continue with the voluntary work that I enjoy, would we have to move house? We are a long way from being perfect in this, and I have two girls who constantly aspire to have things that their friends have, and the FH and I talk about things that we would like to do or have, so we have to work on this more ourselves. I hope that this has made you think about being satisfied a little the way the book made me think this afternoon.

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