Footsteps in Faith: All can get a firm grip on elusiveness of contentment

| April 9, 2010 | 0 Comments

Chaplain (Maj.) Michael Keifman
3rd Brigade Special Troops Battalion Chaplain

I have a son named Dan who is 5 years old. When he is really happy, he smiles, sighs and says, “This is my kind of life.” 

That is contentment. 


Many times we want more than we have. It seems to be part of our nature. However, always wanting more can make us spiritually poor if it robs us of our present happiness.

It’s like Benjamin Franklin once said: “Content makes poor people rich; discontent makes rich people poor.” 

During my last deployment, I remember preparing to leave the remote location we had been living at in Iraq for almost a year. 

We were escaping a barren and desolate location and returning to the lush green paradise of Hawaii. 

Two places could not be any more different: one dry and desolate, the other full of life. 

Ironically, some redeploying Soldiers weren’t happy in either place. 

They didn’t like the desert, but at the same time, they lamented that Hawaii was too small, too isolated, or that there just wasn’t enough to do in the islands. 

I was struck by how elusive contentment can be for us as people.  

To me, contentment is the experience of satisfaction, of being at ease in one’s situation. 

Contentment isn’t something that just happens, and it isn’t found in the material things around us. 

It’s a spiritual discipline, and it can only be found within us. 

Furthermore, if we live by good values such as patience, integrity, justice, forgiveness and generosity; contentment will follow. 

This does not mean, however, that we should not strive for self-improvement. We can be sure that God wants us to be our best and fulfill our potential. Striving for self-improvement is a good thing. 

However, always keep in mind that contentment can be found in whatever place or circumstance we find ourselves in. 

If the pain of life becomes greater than we think we can bear, we must learn to deal with it. That pain is a means of reminding us that we need to deal with something so that order and peace can be restored to our life. 

Finding this kind of contentment is no easy task. Feelings of peace and happiness will elude us if we focus too much on the past or worry too much about the future.

One secret of contentment is living in the moment and seeing the blessings of that moment. As our minds drift to past mistakes or future worries, contentment also drifts away like a boat that has become untied from the dock. 

The English minister and philosopher John Balguy said, “Contentment is a pearl of great price, and whoever procures it at the expense of 10,000 desires makes a wise and a happy purchase.” 

I agree. Indeed, happy and blessed are those who find contentment in life.

Category: Footsteps in Faith, News, Standing Columns

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