My mother-in-law once told me that she grew up “happy and content as a cow”. She never looked beyond her everyday life and wished for something more. She felt completely content in her own “pasture”, as it were. I shook my head when she said it, and I thought, how sad to never long for more of life than what’s in your own backyard. Fortunately, I had the good sense to keep that comment to myself.
I thought of our conversation today. I thought of it when it snowed again for the third time in a week, and I looked at my shovel and the long, narrow driveway with apprehension. I thought of it when my husband literally snapped his fingers from the sofa to get my attention this morning. (He’s still recovering from God knows what, but really? Snapping?) I thought of it when I listened to my daughter plink out Joy to the World on the piano, and when I sat in the carpool line, and when I boiled water for my third cup of tea. I can’t not think about it during every ordinary moment I live today, because I have no idea what it feels like to not want more.
I want to wander and roam and understand and read and listen and write and laugh and sing more. All the time. These desires drive me, and I confess at times I judge others who don’t feel this way too. I also confess to feeling guilty because I want so much from life. It feels wrong somehow, when I place my inner desires against the outer workings of an infinite universe. They seem too big and too small at the same time.
A friend recently told me that she denies herself nothing–if she wants it she eats it, if she feels it she expresses it, if she desires it she buys it. She loves God, and she adores her life. This too, is a total mystery to me. I deny myself a lot. And believe me when I say, my thighs and my husband thank me for it. No one wants this ball of crazy unwound.
I thought of my mother-in-law, my friend, and little girls who play Joy to the World, and it occurred to me that while our joy is wrapped up in the person of Christ, how we live out that joy will look different for each of us. It’s ok to want more. It’s ok to want less. As long as the source of our joy is the same and we live fully out of our own unique personality, there is no shame. The ordinary and the extraordinary beat to the rhythm of the same song, and there is enough of both to envelop us in the music.