Tuesday, July 13, 2010
Recently, Cait's obvious wisdom shown through in a piece she penned "Gratitudes' Final Say". (I've been asking her to guest blog for me for some time and this may be as close as I get! She's a busy gal.)
Below are a few paragraphs to whet your appetite and the link, where you can learn more about "Thought Meadow". http://www.thinkmeadow.com/ and read her article in its entirety on line.
If you'd like to know even more about Cait, her family, her home, lifestyle, and her recipes (and who wouldn't??) then get yourself on over to her Rice family blog http://www.pinkpeppers.com/ and read away. I'm especially fond of her recent post all about the color pink!
"Gratitude's Last Stand"
I'd like you to meet a woman who I wish I knew better. The problem is, she 's not alive anymore. And besides that, my memories of her are those of a little kid. But I'll do my best to introduce her anyway, because she has something to say.
I knew Carrie Schryvers at the end of her life, when a person becomes the sum of her attitude toward her time on earth. Old age is a time when true character is amplified, when wrinkles on a woman's face are either the signs of contentedly smiling or sourly glowering at the passing of days.
Carrie was born in a decade when the life expectancy of women was 51, men 48. A gallon of milk cost 32 cents. She grew up during the Depression, and though it would seem natural for her generation to take on that very word as a part of their identity, "depression" was not an adjective that applied to Carrie. She scratched out her living farming as one of five daughters in South Dakota, until the Dust Bowl forced the family to the new soil of the Yakima Valley in Washington. There, she became the wife of a less-than-kind man, and worked alongside him picking seasonal produce until they could afford a farm of their own. She worked at canneries and laundry cleaners, as well, to add to their small income. She loved babies but was never able to have children. When she was too old to work the land, she and her husband, moved into a green single-wide mobile home with brown shag carpet and no air conditioning. After a bad fall, she went to live at the Sunnyside Nursing Home, where a breeze of outdoor air smelled like the sweetest thing on earth in those hallways lit by flourescent lights.
Even as a 10-year-old, I could tell this nursing home was not a nice place to live. People wandered into Carrie's open room that she shared with one or two others There was no privacy even for those who had all their wits about them. The food was horrible-looking and a stagnant, smelly warmth permeated the building...
Elderly people have the advantage of 20/20 vision. They are loking back on how everything played out in life and can see God's work. But let's face it, sometimes even at the end of life--when we should be able to see how "all things work together for good"--it might still look a little bleak. A valid question seems to be "WHY"?
Why did God give me this lot in life? Why did God give Carrie her lot? Or you, yours? Why do men and women suffer injustices, hardships, disappointments and then, ultimately, death? And further, how in the world are we to be grateful for that "lot?"
For one thing, there are different lenses to wear. Two old people can look back at the same set of facts with 20/20 bitterness or 20/20 joy, one as a fool and the other a wise woman. Ecclesiastes speaks of the fool's response to life with a word that is translated "worry","anxiety" or "vexation"...
So if the fool's response is bitterness at the lack of control he has over the events of his life, wisdom's response is joy. What do you love about life? Hiking, or cooking, or writing, or working out algorithms, or singing opera? Do it now, while you are able, can enjoy it, and can say, "thank you God for giving me this fleeting pleasure, in this fleeting life; I love it!" There is no room for regrets at the end of your life when yo can't do these things anymore, if you took full advantage of them in your youth, knowing they were a gift from God to be freely enjoyed in the moment, not clenched onto forever....
"Remember now your Creator in the days of your youth, before the difficult days come and the years draw near when you say, "I have no pleasure in them.'" (Ecclesiastes 12:1)
See the full article at http://www.thoughtmeadow.com/