A high five in the middle of a store

Contentment is a choice.

We went to Kohl’s on Friday to pick up a few things.  We had a few minutes to kill so we wandered the store after finding some clothes.  We came across a patio set.  Our current set is in dire shape.  The cushions had become worn.  Rust was starting to show on the steel frame.  To our surprise, they had their sets on sale.  In fact, it was a really good sale.  We asked an assistant to package the items and I would come back with my van.  So, we drove home.  I switched cars and went back to the store.  The assistant told me to hop in line and he would bring up the set.  When it was my turn a lady in her late 50’s motioned to me to come to her register.

Just to put things in perspective, the store was packed.  I have been to Kohl’s around Christmas when the line is stretching through the store.  While not quite the same, this was close as you had to wait several minutes to get to a clerk.  People were in a hurry due to the holiday weekend.  There was no break for the workers.  It would be completely understandable if every one of them was in a mood.  Working on the holidays.  Hurried if not irritable customers.  No break.  Yeah, I would be a little frustrated.

Thus my surprise when I found myself in front of an energetic, happy woman.  She asked me how I was doing.  She helped me with a smile.  Then, she said we are going to try and get you a better deal.  Apparently, there is a deal that can be had if you have an account with them.  It works sometimes.  Other times it doesn’t.  So, she said let’s give it a try.  She punched in some numbers.  She turned the screen to me so I could fill in some information.  She leaned over with a smile and said let’s see if we can save you some money.  I said, “I’m all for that.”  As she stared at the screen, information popped up.  She immediately became excited and said it worked!  She then lifted her hand and gave me a high five.  Ok, this is a first.  I have never been given a high five by a clerk in the store.  It was as if she personally had saved the money.

I want to be like this woman when I grow up.  Actually, I want to be like this woman now.  There were countless reasons why she could have been sour on this day.  She could have simply survived work and gone home.  She could have spoken to no one, earned her paycheck, and her boss would have not given it a second thought.  But, she made a choice that day to be cheerful and upbeat.  She chose to be happy.  She seemed completely content.

I have bought into the myth that contentment is found in buying certain things, earning that promotion, getting accolades from other people, or simply going on vacation.  In these cases, contentment is bound up with things, achievements, or escapes.  Yet, it is not true.  Contentment is found in simply being thankful for what you have and enjoying the day that has been given to you.  Contentment is a choice we have to make every day – to love life or to dread it.

As a believer, this is all the more true.  Easter reminds me of the daily blessings available to me – unconditional forgiveness, sufficient grace, and the constant companionship of a God who adores me.  For me, contentment should be all the easier as I have available to me everything I need to enjoy life abundantly.  I am a child of God with all the heavenly resources available to me to live life with thankfulness and contentment if I choose.  It is not forced up on me.  It is not demanded of me.  God offers it to me.  I think I will choose it.

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