Contentment | Celebrate What's Right With the World
Contentment
by Russell Adcox
May 30, 2017 - 1:34pm

In our house, we have a very specific bedtime routine with our son. It is a routine we started when he was just a toddler and, to be honest, I never would have guessed that we would still be following it as he nears his 8th birthday in just a few days. There tend to be slight variations, often involving some a little horseplay and a lot of laughing, but the routine remains almost unchanged. We talk about his day; we read; we pray; and we sing the same songs we have sung year after year. It has become my favorite part of every day and there is a little part of my heart that dreads the day he outgrows it. He will stop needing it long before I do. Tonight, I find myself sitting at the kitchen table, reading one of my favorite photography blogs. As I look at the amazing photos and read the stories about exotic places and people, I feel a familiar sting of restlessness. Not unhappiness, but a persistent wanderlust that has been a part of me for as long as I can remember. I am very aware of how blessed I am and our life here as a family makes me very happy. But there has always been a part of me wants to live out of a duffel bag; to wander aimlessly all over the world, with no particular destination; to see places and people I have never seen and to photograph and write about them. I often daydream of crossing oceans on a freighter and crisscrossing continents while staring out a train window. Tonight is one of those nights. I feel my vagabond shoes pulling at my feet and my imagination begins to spin the compass like a wheel of fortune, giddy with excitement to see which direction it lands. "Go, wander, see!", says the quiet voice of the wandering spirit. And suddenly, there it is...that little restless wind blowing through my soul. My wife walks out of our bedroom behind me and as she passes, she brushes her hand across my shoulder. To her, it may be an unconscious habit, but to me, it is the world. "I'm headed back to put him to bed.", she says as she passes me, leaving behind the faint scent of her night time lotion. As she walks through the kitchen and living room, she turns off lights, leaving only a single lamp burning on the sofa table. On the other side of the dimly lit living room, I can see moving shadows cast by our son's bathroom light as he finishes brushing his teeth and I hear my wife tell him it is time for bed. Suddenly the restless wind inside me is still. I push the button that turns my iPad screen blank and in the blink of an eye, the exotic lands disappear from my screen and from my mind. As I stand up, I notice a catcher's mitt and baseball laying in the light of the sofa table lamp. They should have been put away before bedtime, but as so often happens in our home, the trappings of childhood remain where they lay instead of where they belong. And in that instant, all of my vagabond longings vanish. The landscape of our living room looks more beautiful to me than the plains of Africa. The sound of my wife and son's laughter hold more appeal to me than sound of the train whistle. And the promise of nighttime songs and hugs and kisses quickly quiet the wandering spirit's tempting words. Do I still want to see the world? Of course I do. And I still plan to, in bits and pieces, secure in the knowledge that home always awaits when I return. But right now, in this moment...in this season of life...this house is my world and in it I find as much adventure and joy as I could ever hope to find under any pin on any map. For now, all of my important stories are here. So I grab my camera from the kitchen table (much like the ball and glove, it never seems to get put away either) and I take a photo to remind me of the adventure I'm living every day. And what a grand adventure it is.

In Celebration,

Russell Adcox

Anonymouson May 30, 2017 - 7:06pm

Thank you! Wonderful read.

Dougon May 30, 2017 - 7:28pm

Welcome to Celebrate What's Right! I, too, had a moment the other day where I daydreamed about "going." But then I saw my wife, together with her mother, both laughing and giggling - after many, many years apart. And I knew right then that "here" is where we belong. The travel may come in time. But today, and the tomorrows that follow, I am blessed to be where I am.

Thank you for the welcome. I am so excited to be a small part of such a wonderful movement.  

Katon May 30, 2017 - 7:47pm

I have wandered. Alone and then late in life with a beloved husband. Only last week, finished with planning our first trip after the start of his renal dialysis, did it hit me all at once how very content I am to just be with him in our home. For the first time in my life the wanderlust stilled. Mahalo nui loa for sharing your story.

Jackon May 30, 2017 - 7:47pm

Wonderful reflection on silence, presence. Thank you!

Jackon May 30, 2017 - 7:48pm

Thank you, wonderful reflection on presence, in the moment!

Anonymouson May 30, 2017 - 8:12pm

A good reminder that little things mean a lot. Congratulations on recognizing them and making/taking time to hold onto them -- the routine, the laughter, the song, the particular scent worn by someone precious. All little things. Each a gift of being "present."

Isn't it funny how our senses tie into our memories?  Certain songs can carry me back in time so strongly that decades seems like only days.  When my wife is on a long trip, I find myself pausing by her side of our bathroom vanity just because it smells like her.  Although I am a visual person by nature, I find I am often just as strongly moved by scent and sound.  

Steve Bundersonon May 30, 2017 - 9:43pm

Thanks for the images created thru your heartfelt words. As an advertising photographer I loved being able to create new and exciting images from around the world. But the sweet hugs from my little daughter and my son's words "could you help me with this project Daddy" always brought me back to the reality that was far more important than hanging out of a helicopter or watching a bird dry its wings after bringing up a fish to the Chinese fisherman who had just sent it down. The blessings of family and children are innumerable....and very sweet.

Thanks for sharing that, Steve.  Like everyone one, I still leave days where I fight the contentment battle, but as you so aptly pointed out, just hearing that magic word, "Daddy", makes you want to be no place else.  Unless, of course, it is the 39th time you have heard it while you are trying to watch the Twins play....

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