Eye to Eye

June 17, 2011

“What makes you happy?”  A strong, gentle voice asks.  A moment of reflection steals over Terry’s brow, before she turns to answer: “I guess I’m happy when I don’t want to be anywhere else but where I am.”

As the story develops for this screen couple, happiness begins when the chase for elusive ease and affluence ends.  Only as they learn to accept their own talents (however limited) and embrace their present circumstances (however tragic) do two searching souls find a home.

Although once prone to wish that my life was a musical, I’ve discovered that the secret of contentment is not relegated to the world of romantic films.  It is, in fact, a choice we make each and every day.  It’s not so much something we learn, but it is something we must do.  And we must do it often.

As I finished reading a memoir by Luci Swindoll, I was struck by her rare and priceless outlook.  Doing Life Differently: The Art of Living with Imagination recalls nearly eight decades of Miss Swindoll’s life, a life brimming with adventure, art, personality, and grace.  Her story overflows with memorable occasions because she made it her habit to always be fully present, fully engaged, fully embracing the moment.

Do we make contentment a way of life, embracing the moment despite our feelings, our fears, and our past failures?  I don’t speak of the times when our spirits are heightened by familiar joys and favorite pastimes.  I mean the still, quiet morning after a grueling move… the social gathering with unfamiliar faces… the prospect of a rote, unhallowed task.  Do we view our neighborhood – and our neighbor – eye to eye, intent on seeing the beautiful and the good?

More importantly, we face a choice in the midst of life’s heartaches.  We can slowly withdraw, or be fully alive.  We can fortify ourselves against loss, or choose to love through the pain.

The true heroes and heroines are not stars of the silver screen, but men and women who choose to love when life is fragile.  They are the wise few who understand the truth of human life, and dare to engage it with the truth of divine love.