THE FROG POND - Taking Stock


The Stewart Family

By Suzanne Mazer Stewart

This time of year, you hear a lot about both the past and the future. The new year brings with it all the memories of the old one, and at the same time, all the plans and dreams for the months ahead. Maybe it's January's snowy days, soft and silent, or it's cold nights spent huddled close to our hearths. Whatever, it would see that a lot of folks spend the season in some seriously deep thought.

I'm not immune to this phenomenon myself. I won't bore you with the trivial things that travel the pathways between my ears. I won't even bother with most of the major ones, either. I would, however, like to let you in on something that struck me as a little odd.

I found myself "taking stock," just like I do with our pantry before going grocery shopping. Looking at all that I had and all that I wanted and all that I used to want or thought I needed. Oh, folks, let me tell you, that was an eye-opening moment!

I used to think that I wouldn't be happy unless I had a fine house and a fancy car. Now, I'm not exactly content with the condition of our old farmhouse, but I'm proud to call it home. I can't imagine living anywhere else, now. I'd love to have a new vehicle, but my old Chevy gets me where I need to go and back again. Plus, it's paid for AND it holds everybody that needs to go and come home again. That, believe me, is much more important than a shiny paint job and sporty wheels.

I also used to dream about changing the world. About writing or doing something so astounding that my name would live on forever in the hearts and minds of my fellow man. (OK, I know, everybody has those dreams, right? Well, I actually thought I could get it done!) Today, I realize that I am changing the world, one child at a time, four children a day. Parenthood gives us the ability to shape the future as we shape our children into the people they will become. And I will live on forever, if only in the memories of my children and future grandchildren. Who could ask for a greater impact on tomorrow's world?

I also looked at what I had in relation to my future plans; the ingredients for tomorrow's dinner, so to speak. I realized that I may still yet write or do something extraordinary. I also concluded that if I never did, that would be OK, too. I'm much more patient, much more at ease with who I am, where I am, than I used to be. I don't know when it happened. Somewhere between yesterday and today, I imagine, I learned to be happy with what I had. I guess you could say I've discovered that I'm content. That's a rather happy thing to be, in case you don't know. I don't have to be better than the Jones'. I don't even have to be as good. I just have to have peace with myself. And that's all right by me.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that from the outside looking in, the pantry of my life may seem a little bare, a little disappointing. But I know that from my viewpoint, it's not so much the amount, or the brand name. It's how you put them all together. As for me, I'm cooking up some homemade happiness. It's the perfect dish for a cold night in January.

Hur Herald from Sunny Cal
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