Wednesday, July 27, 2011
Contentment versus Complacency
Being content with the patterns of your life is a virtue. I strive for contentment. Finding a way to smooth out the rough bits of the world, folding them into some sort of order, and then smiling through it all - this is how I prefer to live my days. I cannot say that I always smile. I certainly do not. I also cannot say that my striving for contentment is always rewarded at the end of the day. But there is another difficulty, one that seems counterintuitive at first glance. You can fail to be content, or you can succeed. Success, however, can also be a failure. If, when achieving contentment, you fall into complacency. I am prone to complacency. I am guilty of believing matters to be settled, when they are not, of order to exist, when there is chaos, and to believe that if I am content, then so must others around me be. Complacency, as you may imagine, is difficult to end. You don't usually realize you are complacent until someone or something shakes you about a bit. Do not get me wrong. I think this shaking a very good thing. I am glad for it. It reminds me that striving for contentment in myself is only part of the work. Striving for contentment in others is also important. I was shaken tonight, and I am grateful. There are now new things to turn my mind to once again. So focused am I on certain, small things that I forget to look up, to cast my gaze around and view a world beyond my navel. Time to find a better balance between contentment and complacency. Where do you draw the line?