We have a small home in the forest, actually The Forest. When they planned our neighborhood someone did two brilliant things for which I am grateful every day. They left hundreds of old trees standing and they “bent” the streets. They call our neighborhood “The Forest.”
Within a few weeks of moving here about five years ago we settled on a name for our cottage in The Forest. It would be Granville Cottage, after “The Old Granville House” on It’s a Wonderful Life, only on a more intimate scale. Ours is not a Italianate-Revival three-story, but a small home made of brick the color of limestone, a sort of Stone Cottage if you have an imagination.
Let me tell you what we recently discovered about Granville Cottage. We have a nice screen-porch on the back of the cottage shaded by an Elm and a couple of Bald Cypress, a Red Maple and a Pin Oak. Outside is a tiny gurgling pond ringed with stones and ivy. This porch has been underutilized for the last few years. We never spent a single evening there. We never ate there. We put some rockers on the porch, but no one ever sat there.
Then, one afternoon a couple weeks ago, we found the missing piece. It was serendipitous. I was resting myself while Lois puttered among antiques and photo props over in Ann Arbor. It was a warm day so I found a nice chair under a shade tree. There was a breeze and there were people to watch.
The chair was surprisingly comfortable. There were three others just like it surrounding a matching glass table. The set was green. Six or eight hours later when Lois finished shopping she found me there content in the shade and the breeze beneath the tree in the comfortable chair.
She walked up and said; “That set would be nice on our screen-porch.” It was very reasonably priced. After a short deliberation we claimed it for Granville Cottage. It was the missing piece to our screen-porch. Now we have a perfect place for the family to gather during two or three seasons. We’ve grilled burgers and eaten there, had pizza picnics, and enjoyed some pleasant conversations already in those comfortable chairs around the green glass table. It’s like we discovered something we already own.
I got to thinking about how many things we already own that we haven’t really discovered. I wonder how many places nearby we have not explored or enjoyed. Is there quiet street where you could walk, or a park where you could pray, a bit of water that you could look upon that would calm your soul? I wonder who is in our lives whose stories we really don’t know. How many undiscovered treasures are all around us waiting to become a treasured part of our lives? There really are already ours, but they are waiting to be discovered.
You could say that contentment is discovering something you already own in a fresh way. You might give a coat of paint to that little rusty wagon and put some geraniums in it. You might wrestle your old bike down from the hooks in the garage and dust it off and clean and oil it up and ride around the neighborhood, pulling some evening air into your lungs. You might meet some new friends for coffee.
Discover something you already have.
Have you heard this: “Contentment is realizing that God has already given you everything you need for your current happiness.”
June 24, 2012