Last week, I wrote about the state of languishing where one may have, among other symptoms, difficulty focusing or a general sense of apathy. Earlier this week, my wife forwarded a twitter post that she had received from a friend that said “Am I working at my regular capacity? No. But am I prioritizing and taking care of the most important tasks? No. But am I at least taking care of myself and my mental health? Also no.” Although the person who posted was making light of the situation, I suspect that many of us are feeling this way (and hopefully with a little humor as well.)
It got me thinking about happiness and contentment. These two words are sometimes considered one and the same. If I am always happy, I should always be content. That may be true but the reverse is not true. I can always be content but I may not always be happy. I actually think that the expectation of perpetual happiness creates a lack of contentment. I can remember from early age, my father in a gruff voice telling me “who ever promised you life would be easy?” I’m guessing many of you heard similar statements from your parents. I passed the comment off at the time as an old man’s bitterness. He was probably in his early forties. Now that I am more seasoned myself, I get the message he was sending. Strive to be content and celebrate and enjoy the happiness when it is there. But, don’t have an expectation that you will always be happy.
On Sunday, as I was driving to yet another lacrosse tournament up I-95, I was listening to a podcast. I don’t recall a lot of what was discussed but one statement really struck me. The woman being interviewed said “discomfort is the price of admission to a meaningful life.” It is a beautiful perspective to have whether you actually believe it or not. I just hope that the price of admission stays reasonable.
This week’s selection is:
Dancing in the Mosque by Homeira Qaderi
Summary from the Barnes and Noble website - In the days before Homeira Qaderi gave birth to her son, Siawash, the road to the hospital in Kabul would often be barricaded because of the frequent suicide explosions. With the city and the military on edge, it was not uncommon for an armed soldier to point his gun at the pregnant woman’s bulging stomach, terrified that she was hiding a bomb. Frightened and in pain, she was once forced to make her way on foot. Propelled by the love she held for her soon-to-be-born child, Homeira walked through blood and wreckage to reach the hospital doors. But the joy of her beautiful son’s birth was soon overshadowed by other dangers that would threaten her life.
No ordinary Afghan woman, Homeira refused to cower under the strictures of a misogynistic social order. Defying the law, she risked her freedom to teach children reading and writing and fought for women’s rights in her theocratic and patriarchal society.
Devastating in its power, Dancing in the Mosque is a mother’s searing letter to a son she was forced to leave behind. In telling her story—and that of Afghan women—Homeira challenges you to reconsider the meaning of motherhood, sacrifice, and survival. Her story asks you to consider the lengths you would go to protect yourself, your family, and your dignity.