Wednesday, November 08, 2006

When happiness is gone.

Lately most of my days are started off by 40 laps of struggle at the pool. Satisfied with my accomplishment I get ready for the day. Today while in deep thought I heard this all to familiar sound, followed by a feeling of sadness.

Hearing that lawnmower in the distance took me back to my backyard in Oregon. I saw the beautiful green lawn, I smelled the small forest connected to it, I heard the birds and the sounds of the neighborhood. I saw my house, the beautiful light wooden floors, and my favorite green wall. Comfortable furniture, colors that made me at ease. I saw my kitchen counters, so easy to keep clean, my favorite coffee mug and the old piano that I loved to play. I saw my friends, their children and the joy they brought. I smell coffee… the smell of friendship.

Fighting back my tears I look at myself in the mirror. These words come to my mind; life is not about happiness but satisfaction. Lately I have encouraged many of my unhappy missionary friends with these words. Words from my life’s lesson this past year:

Happiness is very much dependent on the circumstances one is in. Happiness needs to be maintained, obtained. It changes day by day. When difficulties happen, happiness is far to be found.

Yet when one is satisfied there seems stability and perserverance. When difficulties happen the person is able to face them and deal with them as the satisfaction of the over all life will carry the person through the difficulties. Satisfaction will make someone last even when the situation is not a happy one.

I cannot help but to think about the happiness I experienced in Oregon. So many people, activities and things made me happy there. Yet through all my years there I had emptiness, a lack of satisfaction. Now living in Rwanda I lack happiness. So much I wish for…Yet the satisfaction I experience through my ministry, the struggles and the joys is satisfying beyond belief. I could do this the rest of my life and just suck up the frustrations and hassles. I could go without the typical comforts and stuff that would bring about happiness. To feel satisfied is such a powerful thing. It brings so much peace and stability. It brings a joy that is deep.

I get out of the dressing room and see the lawnmower that started my thought process. I smile as I notice it even looks like the one I used to have and I agree with myself that my life, one of satisfaction surpasses one if happiness.


rené said...

What an awesome reminder that our lives are not about the temporary "happiness" that comes from being comfortable, but that we find our JOY in serving the ONE who gives us peace and stability even when happiness seems out of reach.

Anonymous said...

WOW! Astrid, Bill and I talked and prayed for you and your family about this vary thing!Here in Oregon, it appeared that the Withrows were at home, just where they needed to be. You seemed to be living the "American" dream. Nice house, good jobs (Travis and your part time one with the Internet), private school for Nany, a thriving ministry, a wonderful church, and many friends just to name a few. When you first shared with us about your call to Africa we thought, great, that will be wonderful. Then you started sharing the time line, and we almost laughed!It seemed crazy. You seemed so rooted. But we love you, and we trust God, and to be honest, we too saw the call of God! So we continued to pray. And now look at you, telling us how fulfilled you feel! We are so proud of you, and your family! God has and is, and we believe will continue using you in so many ways!
Thank you so much for sharing your heart and soul with us on such a personal level. I look forward to reading your postings so much. They read as devotionals to me! You are awesome!
Love Michelle Corbin

Madelief said...

Hey Astrid,

Just Googled your blogspot.
With all the languages... could I dare to asume you still speak your first?!

Vast wel he?!
Ik ben even met een halve blik over je teksten gegaan. Tis al lang geleden die tijd op de spw en in Ermelo op kamers.
En toen die keer dat je me uitnodigde om langs te komen voordat je naar Rwanda vertrok stond mijn hoofd niet naar een afspraak...

Maar however,
met mij, ons, gaat alles uitstekend. We hebben drie maanden geleden een prachtige zoon gekregen! Rowan is het mooiste en het beste wat we maar konden wensen.

Een fotootje van kleine Rowan staat op mijn blogspotje... tis al lang niet meer ge-update maar binnekort zal ik een recentere foto van ons kereltje plaatsen.

Ik zal je blogspot regelmatig eens bijlezen!

Heel veel succes... en blijdschap in Rwanda ;)


karen said...

Yes, you're so right Astrid. It isn't about how happy we are, our rights, our possesions or accomplishments....ultimately, it's about being in the center of God's will each day. You are a wise and rich woman. I love reading this blog.
I love you