Last week I listened to someone rant long and vehemently about a problem, only to end with the words, “I’m so over it!” I’m not sure this person really understood that phrase, but she clearly was not “over it.” Nor did I have any expectations that the outburst had given such relief that the tension was now past.
As a fragile and faulty human being, I often think I am emotionally over and done with a problem or care, only to pick it up again as if it was a treasured keepsake, and turn it over and over in my mind. The bad thing is, unlike a treasured keepsake, it gives no pleasure.
It was like this yesterday when I came across a tiny rose seedling near my long-gone rose hedge. Not only was this plant perfectly healthy, unlike the eight rosebushes that were there four years ago, but it was even blooming!
While I did enjoy a burst of happiness that a new rose bush was in my garden, the feelings became overshadowed with the old pain and regret that the first row of double red Knockout roses had to be destroyed because of the dreaded Rose Rosette disease.
I glanced over at the space where my very first shade garden had been, not four feet away. I remembered fondly the brightly colored heucheras that thrived in the shelter of the eight-foot red hedge of glorious blooms. My heart seethed as I remembered the last heuchera that grew crispy and sunburned before I could find a shady home for it.
And then I took a wider view of the garden, and the sunshine with which I had already made peace, and decided that I did like the shade after all.
It’s like I “buried the hatchet” with my anger about the roses, but left the handle sticking up out of the ground so I could grab it and start swinging again.
No, I surely am not “over it” four years later!
Our sinful nature is one that constantly pushes our emotions to decline into dissatisfaction. The scriptures tell us to turn that around!
“But godliness actually is a means of great gain when accompanied by contentment. For we have brought nothing into the world, so we cannot take anything out of it either. If we have food and covering, with these we shall be content” (I Timothy 6:6-8, NASB).
This is not to say that we cease from striving for improvement in every aspect of our lives, but that we should be content with what we have at the moment. If I don’t have a shade garden, I will simply have to be thrilled with the many flowers that love sunshine. If I cannot afford a new car, I will be happy that my old Dodge Neon is still running great.
We can seethe and simmer about circumstances that have befallen us, but it accomplishes nothing.
The apostle Paul gives us a great prescription for this festering dissatisfaction that we are all too prone to allow into our lives.
“One thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:13b, 14).
(Deep breath)….Okay, I’ll try my best to forget the loss of my rose hedge. Besides, I have work to do in the sunny part of the garden! And I have a baby rose bush that needs care.