What Does It Mean To Be Content?

    Are you content with your life? If not, why not? What would it take for that to happen? More money? More time? More meaningful pursuits? Less drama? Less stress? Less people depending on you? We all have to deal with frustrations, that's a fact of life. But, do we let these frustrations take over and rule our lives?

   In my most recent trip to Haiti, the subject concerning the contentment of the Haitian people seem to keep coming to the surface. How do the Haitian people seem content when most of them have so little? Frankly, when you have a lot, you are spending a lot of time being concerned about what you have. In our western mindsets, we are so oriented to getting more and hanging on to what we have, that contentment is something that few find. Through our discussions on contentment, it was discovered that the suicide rate in Haiti is almost non existent. Here in the USA, suicide accounts for 10% of all causes of death- more than motor vehicles accidents for a year. Some of these stats may be a little off since there is a stigma with reporting a death as a suicide.

I downsized my life when I moved to New England in December of 2006. Yes, I have acquired some things since coming here, but I am seriously considering how I can downsize and simplify even more. Where am I spending money that is totally off the cuff and unnecessary? If I am done using something or it has lived past it's usefulness for me, why am I hanging on to it? If there is life left in it, give it to someone who can use it. For me, it's just being lazy- I need to become more purposeful with the things that I have. Is it a need , or a want? I have found in the past that when I go to purchase something, this is a good question to ask. I have avoided many foolish purchases by asking myself this. There was a time, I never would have asked myself that. But, I find that my contentment rises when I don't have things that I don't need.

If we had to live for an extended period of time like the average Haitian, I think that we would find out that contentment isn't about the things and the money. It's about our family, our neighbors, and our community. A single Haitian mom with 3 kids gets a new cement block house that is smaller than most of our bedrooms is so grateful for the decent roof over her head. But, she has no bed or furniture to put in the home and her children and her will have to sleep on the cement floor. She will find a bed sometime, but until then, she is content to have the roof over her head.

What will make you content? Maybe less than you think.