Learn to be content
by LAURIE TENHAVE-CHAPMAN
First Congregational Church of Rockford
Recently, I was shocked and a bit gleeful to see that the warning “Service Engine Soon” was no longer shining out at me from the control panel of my car. Nearly two years ago, this message lit up in red and I panicked at what ill had befallen my car. It was simply my car’s way of telling me it was tired, no longer up to the manufacturers’ par and would begin to experience more difficulties as time progressed. As long as there is no presenting problem, I have learned to relax and drive with that message shining out at me.
But this past week I looked down and there was no message of warning! How could this be? Had something fallen into the right place? Or was it just a good day for my 10-year-old vehicle?
This year, I will hit the half-century mark. No big parties; just a pensive approach to this significant reminder that I’m no spring chick. Certainly I have noticed over the decades that I can expect less out of my body than I once did. Not enough sleep on Saturday night leads to difficulties in leading worship on Sunday morning. Sledding can be perilous to my skeletal system, which has become less forgiving over time. Clearly I have physically peaked, and from now on my “Service Engine Soon” light will be on.
Even as some of our physical capacities recede in strength, God grants us heightened senses for appreciating life in new ways. Our engine may not rev as steadily, but we sure know what a blessing our family is. We may not have a mountaintop view, but the regular pace to our daily lives is certainly a gift. I may not be able to do an “all-nighter” anymore, but I love my work and it doesn’t require term papers!
The “Service Engine Soon” light was off only briefly that day. But driving the car with the light off wasn’t any different than driving it with the warning flashing. It’s all in the attitude.
When you feel like you’ve “peaked,” invite God to highlight the simple blessings in your life that you missed when you were younger. Like the apostle Paul exhorts, learn to be content in all circumstances!