12 April 2011

Life As We Know It

I think homesteading and an old-fashioned lifestyle are often viewed through rose colored glasses. I know I am guilty of romanticizing things for which my great-great grandmother would probably call me crazy.Hanging laundry on the line? Making meals from scratch? Growing food? Canning? Keeping chickens? I imagine she would be surprised to know how many people today think of mastering those things (among manyothers!) as an ideal to reach for. As if, once we acquire enough skills and have a big enough garden and on and on, we somehow acquire the status of a "real" homesteader- urban or otherwise. Instead, I imagine she would tell me that these things are just life. It's not about showing off our mad laundry soap making skills or feeling like a fraud when the sourdough starter dies. It's about living day to day, doing things that provide for our families in the best ways we know how. In my case, that definitely requires learning new skills, but even people in "the old days" had to learn these things too. They also had crop failures. They burned the sweet potatoes. They battled weeds and bugs and less than fabulous gardens. They faced too many bills with not enough money. They mothered sick children and also fought their own illnesses. They splurged on sweets. They lived and loved and worried and worked and hit their knees. They just lived life.

This was on my mind the other day while watering the peas struggling to survive the hot, dry spring we've had. I decided to try something. Rather than compare my life to others, trying to live up to their amazing accomplishments (while typically failing, by the way) and coveting the homesteading elements that have not yet materialized for us, I will aim to think of these things as my great-great grandmother would have. Doing the dishes everyday is just a part of life. So is sweeping and laundry, picking up the toys and cleaning the bathroom. Those sometimes mundane tasks are just as much a part of life as growing your own tomato plants can be (though, admittedly, a sun-ripened tomato often seems to be a sweeter reward than a clean floor!). Hanging laundry, cooking healthy meals, gardening, preserving food- I am learning to do these things as well as I can to provide for my family, not to validate my status as a homesteader or to gain praises from others for how "super self-sufficiently sustainable" I am. Pride goes before destruction (Proverbs 16:18). I need not feel like a "fake" if not everything I plant actually sprouts, or if I use the dryer on a busy day. Those things too, are just life. I will keep going, keep learning, and keep working. Rather than cultivating my own glory, I will strive to do all to the glory of God (1 Corinthians 10:31)- just as my grandmothers did.

1 comment: