Some boxes to check:
Buy my own home
Send my children to college
Swim with the dolphins
Go back to school
Make new friends
Buy a red sports car
Learn to ski
Be recognized by others
Show my kids the world
I sat there, stumped. I couldn't imagine that I *really* had to go through this. Yet, there was Lisa, the DSM, saying, "Go ahead. Start checking boxes...and tell me about it."
We already own our home. I checked off "Send my kids to college" and "Financial independence" then put my pen down. She looked at me with that "You're not done already" look so I checked off "Make new friends," but seriously...do you make "friends" by selling stuff to them?
Lisa looked at me quizzically and said, "What else? Surely there is more!"
Rhianna was with me because she had to be dropped off for her youth event and this woman had called me for a spur of the moment sort of meeting. I looked at Rhianna with a "Help me out here" plea.
Rhianna: "Well you wouldn't travel abroad but you do want to go to those waterfalls that go backwards.
Me: "Oh, the Reversing Falls of St. John! I also want to go to Lake Okanagan, British Columbia." I checked off "Travel abroad" but then qualified it with, "In continental North America." Flying and big ships don't thrill me.
Rhianna: "You want to cross country ski, remember?"
Me: "Oh, yeah" and so I checked it off.
Me: "Actually, I'm really very content. I just want more money for Christmas and to pay for Rhianna's large skating bills. She could use more coaching time."
I realized at that moment: I am content. I don't have major dreams of a life full of material advantages. Those things don't thrill me. While I do have some kettlebell lust going on (and had a moment of fear this week that Butch would say kettlebells were off limits), in all honesty, I don't want much. I like things that come my way - no doubt.
I started to wonder if maybe I'm a bit weird. I don't dream about new cars - but if one came my way, I wouldn't mind it. If someone felt like dropping a Nautilus Treadclimber on my front step, I wouldn't refuse.
Material ambitions/goals must not be my thing. I tend to dream about running a certain distance, amazing grandma things that I can one day do, where I'd like to hike, going to the park for free contra dancing lessons, seeing my kids "do things," stuff like that. I guess that I probably dream about being able to afford the kind of wedding that they want... but I also hope that I've taught them well enough to be practical and not "throw money away" on a one day event when it could be used more wisely for a lifelong endeavor.
When we made the choice that I would stay home with our kids and then stay home longer and homeschool them, we through luxury and cushy sorts of extras out the window. I'm okay with that. I never realized just "how okay" until Lisa was sitting there, expectantly waiting for a lengthy want list that I just didn't have.
"Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with such things as you have, because God has said—Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you." (Hebrews 13:5)
"I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I know both how to have a little, and I know how to have a lot. In any and all circumstances I have learned the secret of being content--—whether well-fed or hungry, whether in abundance or in need. I am able to do all things through Him who strengthens me." (Philippians 4:11-13)
"But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we certainly can't carry anything out. But having food and clothing, we will be content with that." (1 Timothy 6:6-8)\
I found this neat definition of contentment by William S. Plummer at gracegems.org:
It is the disposition of mind in which we rest satisfied with the will of God respecting our temporal affairs, without hard thoughts or hard speeches concerning his allotments, and without any sinful desire for a change. It submissively receives what is given.For the most part, any discontent I have usually arrives with thoughts of things I feel my children need or want. I'm most likely to become stressed about things I want to provide for them. God has never let us down and they have never truly lacked. They have also always understood the difference between what is important and what can be done without.
Truth be told, I still want kettlebells for Christmas. :) And I did ask Pat tonight, "Hey did you ever think about what kind of car you would like to drive when the kids are all on their own and we can afford it?" He was like, "Uh, no." So we both thought and thought for a few minutes, talked about German cars and then decided..."Maybe we should get matching Chevys." End of story.
On another note entirely, at the gym on Saturday I saw a woman and her husband who I have seen the last two weeks. She was watching me and Rhianna work out, taking quick furtive glances our way whenever we started a new circuit. I found the opportunity to say a few cheery words to her, break the ice and all. She seemed like she didn't know her way around the equipment or machines very well. Her husband tried to show her how to do a triceps press-down and then went about doing his own workout.
She kept sneaking looks our way and then asked me if something we were doing was hard...so I invited her to join us next week. She then told me how she had been noticing our routines, how she wants to lose weight, how clueless she was about it all. Rhianna told her I was a personal trainer. I told her how I had just been doing it for free for some friends and hadn't made my business cards yet - and that's when I offered to help her. For free. That's me - Free n' Breezy. (Bonus points for her: She couldn't believe I was old enough to be Rhianna's mother, she thought we were "friends." Whoo-hoo. It's probably good that I wasn't doing my hunchbacked old woman walk from earlier in the week, that would've been a dead giveaway).
You know what? I still felt really good about it. She was so excited. We made plans to meet next weekend. Her name is Michelle - and I'm looking forward to getting to know her. I can't come the other times she works out - she goes at night when the gym is crowded. I don't like mayhem, plus that's family time for me. I will teach her some things that she could do for her other two workouts so that she doesn't feel lost in the gym.
Maybe it's a ministry of sorts for me. God has given me some skills that I can use to help people - I feel that I'd be negligent if I wasn't giving that help when it was in my power to do so. I'm usually there on Saturdays working on Rhianna's upper body strength, so the more the merrier.