If there’s one virtue that doesn’t seem to grow well in American soil, it’s contentment. We want to have it all. We want more money, more beauty, more health, more comfort, more entertainment.
And yet in the midst of our longing for more, we run the risk of missing the unique wonder of our present circumstances. Sure, our lives may feel mundane at times. But who ever said that mundane needed to be bad?
In “The Golden State” from City and Colour’s fantastic 2013 album The Hurry and the Harm, Dallas Green raises this very question. In contrast to the lifestyles of glitz and glam in warm and sunny California, Green pines, “I need to see the leaves change and the snowflakes falling / I need to hear the cold wind whistling through the winter pines.” I can’t help but think that this is the refrain of someone who has found contentment in his own surroundings. Someone who practices the art of grateful living. Someone who sees beauty where others see boredom.
And it challenges me to ask: What are the things in my life — average and mundane though they may be — for which no replacement exists? What are the things I might be overlooking in my own quest for more?
In the final analysis, there are probably very few of us that need more money, more beauty, more health, more comfort, more entertainment. What we need more of is appreciation for the manifold gifts we’ve already been given.
Check out the song (with lyrics) below: