Who Can Find Contentment?
MANY people believe that their quest for contentment would end very happily if only they could move to a remote and secure tropical island. Surely, there they could enjoy a tranquil life basking in the sun, with plenty to eat and not a worry in the world.
In the book Rascals in Paradise, James A. Michener and A. Grove Day tell of “a fabled occurrence in recent Pacific history.” In essence, the story is that during the 1930’s a certain Australian concluded that a major war was on the horizon. Desiring to avoid involvement in such a cataclysmic event, he methodically sought a place of refuge.
“Finally,” we are told, “by a process of the most careful logic, he decided that his only secure refuge from the world’s insanity lay on some tropical island. . . . he studied the Pacific and narrowed his choice of islands to the one that offered every advantage: remoteness, security, a good life . . . in the late summer of 1939, one week before Germany invaded Poland, this wise Australian fled to his particular South Pacific refuge. He went to the almost unknown island of Guadalcanal.” But did he find security and contentment there?
Alas, for that refugee, even the remote island of Guadalcanal became the scene of intense fighting in the years 1942 and 1943! Indeed, during much of World War II, it was anything but a carefree tropical paradise.
That all took place decades ago. But what about the present day? What is seen by the candid observer?
Strikes, protest marches, child runaways, school dropouts, illegal use of drugs, broken homes and divorces—all of these are becoming commonplace. Why? What is the common denominator in the majority of these problems? Discontentment!
Think, too, of the present-day threat to peace. Consider the possibility of a nuclear holocaust. Who can find contentment amid such circumstances?
Today, as during World War II, there is no remote and secure tropical isle to which you may flee. With air travel, mass communications—yes, and atmospheric pollution—none of us can find a location that now affords complete safety and tranquillity. But does this mean that all men, women and younger persons are doomed to lives of unhappiness and discontentment? No, indeed. And this we shall see as we consider the pressing question, Can you be contented with your lot in life?