Contentment in Life
By Apolinario Villalobos
Even what is good becomes bad when it is excessive. Food is good but could give us dyspepsia when we have taken much more than what our guts can take. Medicine when taken in overdose can be fatal. Even being overly religious can give us imbalance in sanity, making us believe that we have already become another God, even another Jesus.
Moderation is necessary. To be healthy, we must watch out for the calories of the food that we eat. We must read the direction on every label of medicine that we take, and follow the doctor’s prescription. We should not even oversleep even if this ultimate rest is necessary for the regeneration of some cells in our body. Even too much love to the point of being too passionate can tip the balance of our emotional lucidity and could be fatal.
To be reasonably moderate, it is necessary that we control our desire. To do these, we should let our mind prevail over our excessive emotion that is expressed in embarrassing actions that we fail to notice, putting us in unlikely situations most often. We become hysterical and unreasonable. All we know is that we have to let out what we feel. A typical manifestation of such this kind of uncontrolled emotion can be observed in concerts of bands where fans shout and gesticulate to show their “love” to their performing idols. Also, in confrontations, during which we let our pride prevail over reason.
During break ups of engaged couples or married ones, some of those who are greatly affected and could not just accept the unfortunate reality either cry their heart out, indulge in food trip binges, drown their sorrow in shots of alcoholic beverage, commit suicide, or kill their partner who brought them such pain. Blame too much love! The same thing happens when a dear love dies. Some of those who are left behind and who could not accept the departure, lose control of their senses even for years, forgetting that they still have other loved ones to be cared for.
For us to be reasonably moderate, we should accept the reality that every thing in ourselves and in this world has limitations. For the physical limitations, no two persons are exactly of the same make up, not even twins. One could perhaps take 3 cups of coffee and not feel dizzy, but another may be good for just 1 cup. One may comfortably gobble up 5 cups of rice, but another is comfortable with just 2 cups. One may consume one whole cake with a smile, but another one could be running to the toilet after finishing 3 slices of the sweet confection. All limitations are part of God’s design when He created the universe and every thing in it including us. That is why there is harmony.
Every thing has its use for the sake of harmony. Some of the creations that may be harmful to us people, are useful to other creatures. In a coral colony for instance, some of the corals are poisonous to humans but provide protection to small fishes. Animals in the jungle that we find dangerous such as lions and tigers are there to help check the overpopulation of their kind by making use of some of the wild creatures as food. As for the criminals that roam the dark streets, they become such to represent what is bad, to open the minds of others, hence, not emulate their acts. But these criminals have the chance to change their ways, that is why, man put up the correctional institutions.
Among God’s creatures, only man has the discipline because of his intelligence. As God’s design, this discipline is supposed to check his acts, tell him what is good and what is bad as his rational attribute is activated. That is why the head which encases the brains is on top of his body while the emotional heart is way down below but above the guts.
Discipline cannot be had if there is no contentment, the hidden force in ourselves that could spell harmonious life.
There are many things that we should be contented about. One is achievement in life. Some are not happy despite their having earned a degree. They still aspire to earn a master’s degree or a doctorate. But because of financial incapacity, this is impossible. This results to grumblings and self-pity. Some are not happy despite their having a loving wife and healthy children. They want more just like their neighbors who have cars and who go on regular out-of-the country vacations. But this is not possible because their salaries are just enough for the rent, food and education of the children. Some are not happy despite their having successfully guided their children to raise families of their own. At an advanced age, they still grumble.
For the blessings that God gave us, we must be thankful. If these blessings prosper, we should share them with others without expecting any payback. We must feel contented for these blessings, not ask for more because there are many out there who are waiting to be blessed, too. For anything that we do for the good of the community, we must do our best. By doing our best as street sweepers we are doing an important role for the cleanliness of our community. By doing our best as tricycle drivers, hence, careful in bringing our passengers to their desired destinations, we are ensuring safety on the street. By doing our job as cooks in restaurants, we satisfy our customers and make them happy. The execution of our role to the best we can is a manifestation of contentment.
The desire for more than what God gave us transforms us into demonic creatures. Those who desire for more money at all cost commit robbery and in case they work in the government, become corrupt. Those who desire for more power make use of bribery as a means. Those who desire for more honors and adulation, commit plagiarism. Those who desire for more aesthetic appearance than others ruin their body with excessive cosmetic surgeries and drugs.
Each role in life is a blessing from God. We should be contented with what we are, what we have and what we can do best for others. We should free our minds from the “should have been” qualms. What achievements others have but we failed to earn should not make us unhappy. Instead, we should be happy for them. We should learn how to be happy for others. There are reasons for every thing that happens in our life. Instead of asking God “why” every time we stumble on trials, we should be mumbling “ thank you, Lord!”. God will not let us face trials that we cannot overcome. He knows our limitations. We must remove the “self” from our mind and change it with His light so that we are assured of clarity in our decisions and actions as we live day by day. We should never let envy and pride hold us back. We should let the force of contentment push us on!