Happy - Here

Anna enjoying the snow last winter - a rare treat in NC

 Our entire married life has been lived up North.  Way up North. 

In the north the snow falls in the winter and your time is spent shoveling, playing and driving through the white stuff.  Until three years ago, my mudroom walls were lined with coats, gloves and hats from October till April.  The mudroom floor was decorated with boots.    

That’s life up north in the winter.

I have always loved a good snow storm.  I don’t like the cold that brings the snow; but I love the feeling of being snuggled safely in my house while the storm blows wild outside.  I love the sound of wind whistling through the trees and vibrating the windows as I sit on the couch reading a book – tucked beneath a heavy quilt – with wool socks wrapping my feet in warmth.  I love making soup when the snowstorm is starting and letting it simmer on the stove top.  I love when the days get shorter and darkness settles in early and needing to turn on the lamps and light a candle to make the house feel cozy and a haven from the elements outside.  I love the feeling that comes over me when I see my husband’s headlights reflect on the window as he pulls into the driveway and runs through the snow pounding his shoes against the side of the house before he comes in the door.  I love the sound of the door closing and watching as he hangs up his coat up on the hook that has his name above it; and knowing the whole family all safe and warm inside our little house and were all together to weather out the storm. 

That is how I spent every winter for over twenty years. 

Perhaps the thing I loved most about winter (and it *is* hard to pick just one – because there are so many things to love about winter up North) is looking out the window of our mudroom door at the light of a full moon shining brightly on the snow that blankets the ground.  I have stood many a night and looked at that view.  Complete Beauty!

Last week I was missing all of that.  My Facebook wall was covered with pictures from my friends still living up North as they welcomed their first snow storm of the season.  I would scroll through and see the snow – picture after picture; and I missed it.  It moved quickly from missing the snow – to longing for the snow and wishing I was there in the North and not here in the South! 

How easy that journey is to make in your mind – you know the one, the journey from here to there. 

I forget sometimes the lesson I’m supposed to know by heart:    When I spend my time looking back on what I had in the past I will miss the present.”

Last week it was weather and geography related – and we smile and chuckle.  Funny really, when you think that most of the people in the snow storm were wishing that they were in the sun and warmth with me.   Sometimes, though, it has nothing to do with the elements outside and has everything to do with life itself. 
I wonder if this looking back and longing for something different is an acquired habit. 
Do we train ourselves from a young age to want something different than what we have?

…to be taller
…to be thinner
…to be richer
… more popular

When do we start making these journeys in our minds?  (I know it happens long before we are old enough to drive or get a passport on our own.)

How much of the present have we missed wishing for the past – or what we don’t have?

It’s a human thing – this wishing for more – for different. 

We shake our heads and click our tongues in condemnation at the behavior of the Children of Israel.  God had redeemed them out of slavery.  A task they could have never done in their own power.  They watched as their slave masters drown in the waters they had just walked through– their freedom completely granted by God Almighty!  Then we read the account that just days later they were wishing they could be slaves again. 

They were wishing for slavery?
For bondage?! 

They wanted oppression rather than to be in a place of sovereign redemption.

I left my computer screen last week – longing for snow and wishing for the north.  I walked out on my porch.  The mountain view in front of me was breathtaking.  Fall leaves changing colors made my front yard look like a picture on a post card.  The sun warmed my arms as it shone down on me and I breathed in deeply the fresh warm mountain air.  The thermometer read 75 degrees. 
I was behaving more like the criticized Israelites than I care to admit!

When I am focused on the past – I will fail to see God’s provision in the present.

Rob and I enjoying the ocean last Nov in FL

I had missed the view God had for me, the beauty of here - looking at the place where I used to be! 
I started laughing as I remembered how giddy I had been when we found out that God was moving us to the South.  It had been in February.  The mudroom was still full of coats and hats and gloves; and I was sick and tired of my feet being cold!  Wrapped up in a blanket on the couch with wool socks on my feet (that never seemed to get that quite warm enough),  I had decided to Google the weather map just to see just how much warmer the South was at the moment  I was freezing in the North.  I had let out a “yippee” when I saw the temperature reading on the computer screen.  I had informed my husband of my findings and stated quite emphatically:    “It’s 75 degrees in North Carolina!  I could live with that!”   

Suddenly I felt ungrateful and selfish.

I had believed in my heart after looking at picture after picture that way up there in the snow storm was the place of real happiness.  I had myself believing that right here in the South could not be nearly as nice – and as wonderful as it was where snow had fallen, schools had been canceled and fireplaces were aglow with the warmth of a fire. 

Last week it was a snowstorm that lured me back to the past – and caused my heart to feel discontent.  Other times it has been bigger things; deeper longings that have made me think that I could not be happy where I was right then – that the source of my true happiness was in the way life had been in the past – the way life used to be.    

If only the bank account balance was bigger…
I would be happier if I was healthier…
Life would be easier if the vehicle was newer…

When I am thinking to myself that I need something more – something different than what I have right now;  am I really telling myself that God has made a mistake at that moment in my life? 
The children of Israel were eating bread from Heaven – and their hearts believed the lie that onions were better than the provision God had supplied to meet their needs. 

They looked back on what they had known as familiar; and they missed the miracle that was happening right before their very eyes!   

I purposed right there on the porch, with the sun warming my arms and the thermometer reading 75, that I would be content where God had placed me.  For twenty plus years that had been enjoying snow storms, warm houses and moonlit snowscapes;  now it is here in the South were the fall leaves stay on the trees longer and offer breathtaking views for weeks that last months rather than weeks.  

Wherever God has me – I can be content.  He has placed me right where He will have me to be – and no matter where that is I will still find that every single day He gives me more blessings than I can count.  But I can try to count them – and last week I started counting again – starting with the sunshine and the warm temperature – and in November no less!  I can live with that!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Ahhhh, Marti! What a d*e*l*g*h*t God crossed our paths. Kindred spirits. (AofGG's) :-) All I can say is, Praise the Lord for your gift to articulate. It encourages me immensely. After losing our son, the Lord has broken me in that c area, "contentment", and given me two future verses to claim in times of testing, Philippians 3:13-14 "Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus."

Blessings, Loretta, Hebrews 10:24