Monday, January 15, 2007
Simple Living is a Challange in Many Ways
My corner of the world is ice covered this morning. The car had at least 1/4 inch of ice on the windows which meant Emery had to spend a great deal of time cleaning it off before his trip into work today. Its such a blessing to know he doesn't have far to drive. So far this morning I have been unwilling to head out into the cold, but that will change soon I am sure. The wind this morning makes it feel like 7 degrees out.
The fire died down in the night. Buried under the comfort of our mountain of quilts and comforters we never noticed, that is until morning came and someone had to be the first one out of bed and coax the hot coals back to life. Its still too cold in the house to consider taking a shower this morning. Reminds me of how in the old days, baths were seasonal events. I can understand that today.
Today is laundry day and to be honest I am dreading it a bit, as the air is biting cold and the line is covered in ice. But at the same time there is something inside me that drives me to do such things along with a sense of excitement. It's like taking the opportunity to see how things felt, really felt during the old days. Maybe I want to see if I am made of the same stuff the early settlers were made of. See if I could manage and find success in the face of difficulties. Perhaps its a piece of my "Mt Everest" of life. But honestly, its more.....there is something difficult to explain about living life so non-dependant on the modern world that has people so bound. It's not freedom to loose the "how to's" that enable you to be independent if need be. It's not freedom to loose the ability to exist unless you have contraptions that do the work for you or that you have to go the store to purchase.
Freedom is more like being able to have those contraptions if you want them but still knowing how to live without them and living without being tied to stuff.
In California, when we lived there, the church we attended had a group called Pathfinders, much like scouts, and there was a honor badge for Bread baking. Melissa was excited to work on this badge since she had helped me make bread many times. We arrived at the church for the class, only to be greeted with a line of bread machines on the counter. They were going to learn how to run a bread machine and call that bread baking ! Now if you are handicapped and haven't the strength to make your own bread, then these things are wonderful. If perchance you spend money to go the gym to build strength, try kneading bread instead of lifting weights, cheaper and certainly productive !
Even within the "plain" churches changes are taking place. Some are becoming so "yuppified" it shocks me. Shopping in malls, having the most advanced cell phones, computers, and stuff. There is far less sewing, quilting, canning, gardening and farming being done.
Gone are the days of making your babies clothing needs and disposable diapering the norm. It is not uncommon to see head covered plain women in the mall shopping. It is now more common to dress their wee ones like the "world". Such a contrast to just 5 years ago. I understand that its not appearance that makes anyone righteous or have a direct ticket into Heaven, its just the thinking behind materialism has sunk more than one ship. Its easy to loose sight of compassion for others when you are so busy spending your money on things. Its easy to forget to build community when you are trying to keep up with someone else or impress another. Its too easy to forget that things never chase away the empty feeling we were trying to fill up.
Simplicity and modesty of living are disappearing. Bread machines, clothes dryers, and shopping for canned goods are all the norm. Even wine glasses grace the tables of some "plain" people. Yes, its used for juice but the point is they are TRYING to appear just like the world. . Why have wine glasses if you don't have wine. Homes are becoming show places instead of a place that states " we are building treasures in heaven". So many in the world wish they could live simple lives like the Amish and some Mennonites do, and the fact is anyone can live that way if they really want to. I just hope examples will always remain.
In many plain communities, farming has given way to small industries and those industries often do well financially, and lots of money can rob you of that joy of living simply if you loose sight of if. More and more, "things" become attractive and enticing and soon you can find a reason to justify most anything you want to buy.
Its sad. . From my stand point, folks moving along these lines stand to loose more than they will ever gain. Sort of "been there done that" experience speaking here.
All of this makes me look at my own life and want to run so far from being showy or owning much stuff. I know, its always easier to see the speck in another's eye and ignore the log in your own. But, if you can learn from what you see around you and begin to remove the log from your own eye, then I guess its a good thing. I see my own log and am working to get it out of there.
I am after all wanting the simple life and there are always ways for me to improve and to live with more conviction.
Fingerless gloves help keep your hands warm when hanging clothes in such cold weather, but your fingers do get mighty cold
The mornings wash, stiff as a cats whiskers on a cold night as it hangs on the frozen line with ice encrusted clothes pins
Soft music, the gentle kind of music that makes you feel content with life... the view from the window as I sit and spin at the wheel makes ...