Finding the Space Between Hope and Contentment
FINDING THE SPACE BETWEEN HOPE AND CONTENTMENT
By Morgan Jones
The exercise seems easy. Breathe in something you want to invite into your life and breathe out the thing that you’re afraid of. I breathe in. I visualize the life I long to have. Children coming down the stairs on Christmas morning. Watching football games with my husband on the couch. Having kids that beg to go to my parents house because they love their grandparents even more than they love me. I breathe out and I’m surprised by what I see. I don’t see anything scary, quite the opposite actually. The images that flood my mind are snapshots of my life now—coming home from work, conducting interviews, writing stories, coming home to a home that is just as I left it—a life that I am actually quite comfortable with and arguably pretty good at.
I always say that it’s the things we don’t expect that make life tough. We can mentally prepare ourselves for many types of life situations or circumstances but still there will be things we don’t see coming and those things always seem to be the most difficult. In my case, I never planned to be single at the age of 30. In fact, I remember seeing women in their mid-20s when I was younger and feeling so sorry for them. The thing that I’ve realized is I didn’t even know what I was feeling sorry for. I didn’t know that being single sometimes feels like you’re watching the world from the outside looking in, that years come and go and everyone around you gets married and has children and you seem to be stuck in some form of Groundhog Day. I didn’t know that there is actually no such thing as a free dinner and I didn’t know that even on the very best days there is a longing to share your life with someone.
If my life had gone the way I imagined, I would’ve been married ten years ago and would have at least a few kids by now. But God recently reminded me that this life I’m living was also at one time just a dream I never expected to actually experience.
As weird as it sounds, it’s true…while my sisters were playing baby dollhouse every day of their lives, I rarely played with dolls or even toys in general as a child. Instead, I frequently shut myself in the bathroom and stood in front of the mirror pretending to interview someone. I was both the interviewer and the interviewee and nailed the interview every time. Later, in high school, I read a book by Jane Clayson Johnson, news anchor on The Early Show, and imagined how amazing it would be to have a career like hers. I never dreamed that one day I would have the opportunity to interview her myself.
And so it is that I’ve discovered that while the unexpected is hard, there are also moments I never planned on—moments that are so beautiful I want to pinch myself, moments where I sit wondering how a little girl like me ended up sitting in rooms she doesn’t even belong in.
Still, I find myself seeking the space between hope and contentment. Single or not, I imagine you, reader, know that space. I have struggled to reconcile these two principles, to discover what the bridge between the two might be. How can I be happy and content with the life that God has given me, grateful for my blessings, but also hoping and believing that God can give me the other desires of my heart, desires that I have always considered to be more significant than any career accomplishments? And what I’ve discovered is that the answer is peace—peace that only God can bring into our lives, peace that comes from knowing you’re doing the best you can to be close to Him, to do what He would have me do. Ugo Betti said, “To believe in God is to know that all the rules will be fair, and that there will be wonderful surprises.”
I breathe in and see the faces of the people God has allowed me to interview. I breathe out and allow myself to hope for a day when I will live a very different life than I live now, trusting that in that coming day of sleepless nights and dirty diapers, I will have fleeting thoughts of days gone past.
So here’s to wonderful surprises, big and small. Surprises in the form of dreams you never expected to live, surprises in the form of tears that at some point—so gradually that you can’t even pinpoint the exact moment and didn’t even realize it was happening—turned to tears of gratitude for the privilege of coming to know God in a completely unexpected way.