How woefully easy it is to misplace our priorities and temporarily lose our sense of gratitude. Perhaps I should write that opening sentence in the first person singular but I have a feeling that the affliction is more or less common to most of us from time to time. It has been a problem for me this last month for one reason and another and might explain why June has surprised me with its fleeting swiftness. I am left wondering how this year's June has come and gone so quickly. Perhaps I was not paying enough attention. Perhaps I was too immersed in wishing for a way of life that was not my own to revel in the wonders of the here and now.
For a couple of reasons, I knew that when I started my new job with a local land conservancy I would likely keep company with a struggle that has been a companion for most of my adult life. It has been simmering under the surface for the last few weeks and, as is often the case, I did not recognize it for what it was until a couple days ago. Covetousness, or wishing for what is not ours, is unsettling and even deadening if not rooted out. I let myself slip back into it without recognising its symptoms. One of these days I would like to report that this companion and I have parted ways, but I don't hold out much hope for that. Instead, I hope to be infused with a pervasive spirit of thankfulness that does not succumb to the longing for more.
The liberating moment of truth came through an encounter with a tiny creature while I was gardening for one of my clients two days ago. These people have a beautiful 60 acre farm with old restored house, barn and lands and I garden for them every week. As I was on my knees weeding under some tall pines, up hill from the waterfall and pond they have installed, I found myself in tears and the mental dam finally burst and let me see what had been affecting most of my waking hours of late. The reality is that I am never going to have the financial resources that these landowners have. Nor will I have the resources and land of many of my friends, no matter how much I may wish to. My husband and I made different vocational choices early in our lives and there is no point in decrying the fact that we are not going to ever be wealthy.
After having my moment of anger much, I am sorry to say, like a small child stamping their foot I happened to catch a glimpse of movement, just under my hand. Through my tears I saw a tiny brown frog, not much larger than my thumbnail, making his way past me and on up the hill, completely oblivious to my anguish. I stopped to watch and realized once again that sights like this are all around me if I will just pay attention. I was filled with gratitude for having been in just the right place at just the right time to see that little frog making his way in the world.
I had to shake my head and chuckle at God and His ways. As is so often the case, He brought me to an awareness of my struggle as I was outside and interacting with the natural world. And then, after giving me just enough time to repent, He brought the means of healing and restoration through one of His creatures. This tiny one reminded me that wealth, at least for me, is to be found in entering into the wonders of Creation. I can do that no matter where I am and what I am doing. This wealth is free.