I learnt that she had been in the hospital for many months. My mother had been there for just a week and every time I visited she begged me to take her home. The contrast was powerful.
One day as I chatted to a social worker, she summed it up in a word, “homesickness”. For most people home is a physical place, a structure of some sort that provides, not only a place to store treasures and memories, but a familiar place, a place which provides a feeling of security and safety. To be separated from that place for any length of time can lead to homesickness, a feeling of loss, insecurity and anxiety.
For other people, home is wherever they are. They have learnt to be content in any and all circumstances … to enjoy life wherever they find themselves. They are not attached to things or places. They don’t know the pain of homesickness, only the joy of contentment.
I’m encouraged by the apostle Paul’s confession that he’d had to learn to be content. It wasn’t in his DNA … it didn’t come naturally to him … he learnt it through the hard experiences of life. Through sickness, persecution, shipwreck and even imprisonment he proved he could do anything through Christ who gave him strength.
He learnt that whatever he had was enough and he could be content no matter what situation he found himself in.
This ninety-something lady had learnt that lesson too. I wonder how many of her 90+ years it had taken her to learn the beauty of contentment?
"I long to live each day to the full - to squeeze from each moment every drop of joy, gladness, beauty, wonder, bewilderment, learning, even suffering if that is what the moment holds, but I can never live to the hilt without learning to be content with the now." Carol Mayhall