About one ton. That is how many rocks I have moved. Not in my yard, though I have moved many rocks in my quest to improve our yard. No, these rocks have been moved out of my house. Slowly, day by day, rocks that I don’t want in my house end up there. They are donated by the Derby public school system. My kids collect them when they are on recess and generously bring them home to deposit them on my floor when they take off their shoes. I have vacuumed them, swept them, and even knelt down to pick them up one by one by hand. I don’t have a loving relationship with these rocks; I want them out of my house. They are dusty and messy and uncomfortable to walk on.
Usually by March or April (toward the end of the school year) I am very ready for summer to make its appearance and for the slow trickle of rocks to stop for a while. Then in late July, I find myself wishing for the rocks to return because that would mean my kids are back in school. No longer would I have to listen to their fighting and whining and have them driving me crazy with their constant crumbs. I am willing to trade all of that for just the rocks. Not surprisingly, now that school has started and the slow trickle of rocks has returned, I find myself wishing back the summer that passed all too quickly and the constant chaos that it brought to my house. It is too quiet when they are gone. I have too much time to think my thoughts now, even though I longed for that ability just a few days ago. Isn’t it just like us to always want what we no longer have, or to wish for what we think would make our lives easier? Is what we have ever good enough?
The definition of content is “to appease the desires of” or “to limit (oneself) in requirements, desires, or actions.” Does that mean that when my husband is losing his job, and it seems like everything in our house breaks at the same time, and my days are constant chaos to the point that I can’t even think straight; that I am supposed to limit my desire for something different than what I have? I think that’s what God is trying to tell me. If I desire to trade the difficulties that have been ordained for me, then I am trading exactly what is meant to draw me closer to the God of the universe and instill a strength and wisdom in me that you can’t buy in any store. It’s the dusty, messy, and uncomfortable times in life that change us. I can accept the challenges and let them change me for good, becoming more patient, more appreciative, and kinder; or I can resent those hard times, becoming more bitter, more critical, and more unhappy.
One of my kids won’t be bringing home rocks in her shoes this year. She’s growing up and no longer has recess. Now, she has locker combinations and class periods and has to get herself to the right class on time. Part of me pains at watching her grow so fast. I want her to have rocks in her shoes again. On the other hand, I know it’s for her best and for her strength and character that I don’t hold her back from growing up. Is that how God looks at us? He knows the hard times we will need to have in order to grow and he hates to see us go through it, but he knows it’s for our best. He sees the change up ahead.
I have been realizing that I will gladly take the rocks, the chaos, the crumbs, even the quiet, and be content with exactly where God has me. No more, no less.
…for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength. Philippians 4:11-13