Today's SSJE video and question is about contentment.

Are you content right now?

Here's my photo answer - a picture of contentment, I think, both restful and playful:

As I answered in the SSJE comment page, I realize that this is a complex idea, contentment. I have often been someone who wanted more and more. From an early age, I wanted the WHOLE COLLECTION of things I collected. I often feel dis-content. 

And yet at the same time, I often do feel contentment, at least for a little while. Sometimes sitting in church I feel content; sometimes propped up in bed with a good book brings on a sense of contentment. Gathering around a table of good food and friends/family does, too. Going on a walk outside and enjoying nature makes me feel content.

The part of this idea that is most active in my mind and imagination, though, is that as I age, I have become discontent with excess. Too much stuff. We are packing up our house in Atlanta to move it all to Richmond and I enjoyed filling up a dumpster and gathering things to be given away. Stuff is encroaching on me. I feel that stuff binds me. 

And yet, I couldn't bring myself to get rid of way too much stuff.

So this is complex. I definitely need to continue to ponder contentment. 


Marty said…
To me it has a connotation of acceptance or satisfaction, almost in a negative sense. Like if you are content with something, you aren't striving to make it better. I wonder if that is part of what you mean by contentment being complex.
Certainly the world at large buys into the message that one should never stand still and never be content but always strive for better and more. I think today's SSJE video/essay is asking us to consider whether or not we ought to buy into that message. What about standing still and appreciating what we have? Even if it's just for today? But most of us aren't able to do that without worrying that we will become complacent, which is certainly different from contentment but not so different as to not be a concern. So yes, there's a tension there for me.