This evening I went for a ride into a nearby ordinarily bustling tourist town. Yes, in the rain. It looked like a ghost town. Odd even for this time of year. Or maybe it just resembled the town after 5pm the way it used to look back in the 1950s, 60s (when it was normal that folks were actually home, having dinner together, kids doing homework, cleaning up, getting to bed at a decent time, and not staying up half the night isolated in your room – locked into, addicted to, mind bending computerized games).
No one even thought about “going to the store” just to have something to do in the evening. I recall Dad watching the news, reading the papers, or working in his vegetable garden in the summer. And Mom loved to read Reader’s Digest Condensed Books after dinner (probably nobody now even knows what those were). She delighted in flowers and plants too, indoor and outdoor. ALL were gathered as family in the living room after supper, not off “doing your own thing.” I loved to do art and practice my music, after finishing homework – done at the dining room table adjacent to the living room (piano was in the dining room too, guitar next to it). No arms had to be twisted, nor was it resented. That’s just how it went. Because there was love there.
Occasionally there were some after school activities, but it was not an ongoing string of exhausting competitive events, night after night. People lived simple and lightly disciplined lives, and it was frankly a very pleasant way to be. We lived in a time where the world shut down on regular hours and days. Many businesses closed around noon on Saturday, in honor of getting ready for Sunday as the Lord’s Day. There may have been a few places open for Sunday dinners, but not many – the exception, not the rule. It was only for special occasions that we got to eat out.
Picnics and pot lucks were often held at the homes of relatives. Most extended family gathered together for dinner on Sundays at someone’s house. It was a rare treat to go out to one of the few restaurants open on a Sunday. There were special times of gathering too, usually Thanksgiving and Christmas.
There were “breathers” in life, where toil and work STOPPED. And I wonder if this “strangeness” that has entered our reality isn’t a time for us to take stock, to re-evaluate the crazy pace at which most of us live, to slow down, to pause, to actually THINK, to reset. Instead now we must have classes on how to breathe to relax, with a hefty price tag attached. What?
Riddle me this. Where did this simple goodness go?
Personally I never liked living like a machine, or being treated like one. All it does it create hypertension, anxiety, depression, dysfunction, and even disease – which comes from dis-ease. Sometimes I wonder if we know how to be anything but a list of our diagnoses, disorders, and disabilities. And that is truly the saddest commentary when that becomes chief part of one’s identity.
Even while we’re crippled and wounded, we’re still prodded to “dream big,” be all you can be, achieve, and push ourselves to the next pasture where we think the grass will be greener. We think that is the cure, when it’s a symptom of the disease of chasing the world!
“Motivationalism” is the foremost pop religion, the god at whose altar so many bow (race, compete, and jockey?). Push, push, push! And much of it sadly is done in the name of the Prince of PEACE. You remember – the One Who makes us to lie down in green pastures, leads us beside still waters, and restores our soul, Whose yoke is easy and Whose burden is light. Yes, that Guy. The One Who said to seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all the things necessary will be yours.
Perhaps this strange pause might give us a chance to find out what our real identity is, as dear children created in the Image and Likeness of our Creator Father. And then once we capture the “vision,” of that, to take back who we really are. It will require pulling away long enough to reflect, to pray, and to LISTEN, so we can hear Him Who says, “Be still, and KNOW that I am God.”