A Day of Contentment

con·tent – kənˈtent / Google search
adjective: content
1. in a state of peaceful happiness.
“he seemed more content, less bitter”
synonyms: contented, satisfied, pleased, gratified, fulfilled, happy, cheerful, glad; More
antonyms: discontented, dissatisfied
satisfied with a certain level of achievement, good fortune, etc., and not wishing for more.
“he had to be content with third place”

verb: content; 3rd person present: contents; past tense: contented; past participle: contented; gerund or present participle: contenting
1. satisfy (someone).
“nothing would content her”
synonyms: satisfy, please; accept as adequate despite wanting more or better.
“we contented ourselves with a few small purchases”

noun: content; plural noun: contents
1. a state of satisfaction.
“the greater part of the century was a time of content”

Contentment is the acknowledgement and satisfaction of reaching capacity. The level of capacity reached may be sought after, expected, desired, or simply predetermined as the level in which provides contentment- wikipedia.com

Each morning I wake up realizing “You’re not in Kansas anymore, Dorothy”, or in my case California, Connie. Yes, I am in Pedasí, Panama. This is home now. A sense of contentment fills me. I enjoy my life here; I love my little house. It has become our casa, our barrio, our pueblo. There are still a few projects we want to do around our home, many more people to meet, and much more to explore, but that will happen someday.

I’m not saying I have always felt this way. Contentment is a process; one must learn to be content. In the Bible Paul writes, “Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need.” (Philippians 4:11, 12 NASB). I wish I could say I was there all the time, that is content, but I am learning. I think that when I am feeling discontent is when I am being impatient, taking things for granted, and forgetting about all the wonderful blessings I have been given in this life. It is not just about material things, although we have much more than some others in this town and even globally, and I am grateful for these things. Others have more, but I am learning to be content with the things I do have. Contentment is also about learning to be satisfied and happy with the circumstances, helping others, doing our best no matter if we receive any recognition for it or not; showing love to others even when they are acting unlovable to us. It’s an attitude choosing to be satisfied. Again this is a goal, a process that needs to be learned. Sometimes I am content, sometimes I still have a lot to learn. I think contentment is learning to prioritize what is important.

Yesterday, while grocery shopping, I was looking for a few things that Mikkel asked me to find while he was waiting to buy meat from the butcher (most meat is not pre-packaged here as in the states). As I was comparing the ingredients of 2 boxes of pancake mixes, a woman passed by and asked, “Are you a Gringo?” I ignored her at first, thinking she might be talking to someone else, but when I turned around, she exclaimed, “Yes, you are a Gringo!” I politely agreed and then she started talking, and talking, and talking. I started to look around for Mikkel so I could leave, but realized than that she just needed to talk to someone. She admitted that she was lonely, a single woman living in a foreign country. So I just decided to listen; I could find the food items later. After about 10 minutes of this stranger pouring her heart out, she shared grateful she was that I took the time to listen to her. We exchanged email addresses and phone numbers and she thanked me for my time, grabbed some syrup she had been looking for and walked away with a smile. This is what I mean about learning to be content, to prioritize what is important. If I had ignored her or cut her off and walked away, I would miss the chance to help her feel a little better that day, even though someone else could have done that. I wasn’t looking for it, but it did give me satisfaction and I have made another friend here in Panama.

Anyway, today is one of those contented days. A few projects are getting finished today such as storage shelves being built in the spare bedroom. In the background music is being played from our Apple TV. Earlier, the music loudly came from a neighbor’s house, but that’s just part of the life here. Panamanians like their loud music. This morning the sky was sunny and blue, but the dark clouds are moving in as they seem to do almost daily during the wet season. Two nights ago Mikkel cooked pork tenderloin steaks on his new BBQ and we ate outside in our back patio for the first time. It was such a pleasant evening. Last night Mikkel, who is the cook in this household, made his first loaf of bread using the toaster oven. It wasn’t perfect, but it tasted so great, and not bad for his first loaf. I could see how satisfied he was that he had accomplished even the simplest of tasks. Contentment is not giving up on dreams, goals, and wishes; there is nothing wrong with having those. Not everything has gone exactly as expected since we moved here, but I am learning to be content with whatever circumstances come my way. It is so much easier than always rushing, wanting, feeling disappointed, etc.

As I finished writing this post, Mikkel finished the shelf in the spare room. He is very satisfied with a job well done, finishing one his goals for our home. I am very content when he is happy. It has definitely been a day of great contentment.

Our new BBQ-we don’t have to heat up the kitchen so much now.

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Patio Dining-Very Romantic in the Evenings

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Mikkel built this Storage Shelf in the Spare Bedroom


3 thoughts on “A Day of Contentment”

  1. My word is often “gratitude”. Today I am grateful that we have the physical and mental ability to complete all the tasks that you just wrote about. Eric told me this afternoon I’m his number one item that he’s glad he’s got with him in Panama, second is his grinder and third is his wheelbarrow. He got points for making me number one. 🙂 Poco a poco…looks like things are coming together in Casa Verde!

  2. Hi, Connie & MikkelThanks for another update…..God is good….Being content is very good…..I can see God is helping you find peace in Pedasi…..Mikkel has been busy and very productive. That’s good. We have our church Thanksgiving dinner at the Fair grounds tonight. I helped yesterday decorate the ladies bathroom and it looks great. I am bringing yams…..they smell so good. It should be a great evening.
    Of praise and celebration. Just know that you are missed at AGCC. Love to you, Lorraine Keeffe

  3. Beautifully said. I can feel your contentment as I read your post. I can sense, sometimes, a slight struggle, but very little. The Lord definitely leading you in these things you desire. It’s wonderful. Sometimes, like I said before, I feel a little jealous of the peace you explain. I long for it here, but family issues and business requirements, etc. seem so pressing all the time. Enjoy, my sweet friend. You are a hard worker and deserve some peace at this time in our lives. Love you.

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