Sunday, June 25, 2017

Sunday Afternoon Tea - Relationships and Reality

I truly believe that there is something in our surroundings those first years of life that are embedded in our soul throughout the remainder of our years.  Perhaps unrealized, when we see an object or hear a song or smell the aroma of a certain food.  We remember...

In late summer and early fall, when the corn is high and becoming golden, I feel as if the year is wrapping up.  When I hear a train whistle in the distance, it brings a smile. When I grind wheat for bread, I'm once again five years old and living across the gravel road from the grain elevator where the train would stop when a load was ready.  It is such a similar aroma.

The orange day lilies growing along side the side of the country roads right now remind me always of my father and our walks in summer when the ditch lilies were blooming.  My wish for my last meal would be chicken fried in an iron skillet, mashed potatoes with homemade gravy, and cooked to death green beans.  My mother's signature meal. I even think of her when I pass a Kentucky Fried Chicken sign.

Although we were not farmers, we lived with the land as we raised chickens, a pig, other animals from time to time, and my parents always grew a huge garden.  My father loved to add to the family meals by hunting and fishing.  Weather was always a subject of importance for those of us in the country.

When I was in early elementary school, we moved to the very small town nearby where the backyard was long and narrow and ended up at a fence near the wetlands.  We called it a swamp.  My mother and other adults would tell children stories to keep them away from the swamp lands.  They worked to a certain extent.

There were no A Girl of the Limberlost style romantic tales of moths or butterflies in these stories. The one I remember the most was about an entire tractor being sucked under by the quicksand.  I can't recall what happened to the farmer and I'm not sure it was actually a true story... or one invented to keep us out of the swamp. 

However, I had a fascination with the land so whenever possible, I made my way to a favorite climbing tree just beyond the fence and enjoyed looking at all the mysterious land.  Once in awhile, another young relative would join me.  We had a healthy fear of quicksand and snakes so we didn't go any farther. I don't think my mother ever caught on.  She may be turning over in her grave.

Growing up the way I did in my childhood, I understood why people value land whether it is to grow food or to protect swamps.  Ummmm.... wetlands.  It wasn't until most of the wetlands in this area were gone that we truly understood their value to much of nature.

As a young wife, I came to value health foods and supplements to improve my husband's immune system.  At the time, he did not realize much of his illness was made worse by being exposed to Agent Orange in Vietnam.  We became immersed in finding out about healthy eating as well as beginning to learn about the affects of chemicals in our food, our rivers, our bodies.

A little later, when we lived in Iowa, I was the president of our local health food co-op and we used to laugh about the different kinds of people attracted to health foods.  For we tended to be either conservative Christian homeschoolers (although I didn't homeschool until my son was school age) or very far left hippy style liberals.

You know what?  We got along.  Just fine thank you very much.

Through the years our mutual interests bonded us together stronger than any differences in politics or religion.  I have had in-person friends and many online friends with these mutual interests but different politics and religions and we relished our similarities.  Until this past election.

Then the hate began and even longtime friends were unfriending each other.  People said such vial things that I was shocked.  Hateful words such as I have never experienced were spouted and there was no room at the health food or environment party for conservative Christians.

What happened?  Well, I've thought a lot about it this past year.  Part of it I think, is just the times we live in for those of us who believe we are near the return of Christ (which I do).  The Bible tells us in various places what the world will look like at this time but I'm still shocked.

However, I truly believe the excessive hate is because of the hit and run and anonymous nature of the Internet.  After all, I voted for Reagan and Bush and not one of my liberal friends disowned me at the time.  When Bill Clinton was elected, I went into a minor depression for a few weeks.  But I didn't disown any liberal friends.

Why?  Because we pretty much knew each other face to face.  We lived in the same neighborhoods and shared recipes and our kids played basketball together and we knew each other outside of any labels society would attach.

Take away the face to face knowing, making it all just a label stamped on by the mass media... add a few dozen or hundred or thousand nasty comments from people who will never know us face to face... and we have a whole new world out there.

Throw in the fact that most people can now join the world wide web on their phones (I still have a flip top), we rarely talk to people in person these days.  Yes, some may have a thousand friends on Facebook but do we really know them?

We make up our minds about each other according to what we are made to believe, not by what is reality.  We are being taught to hate but by whom?  Who is manipulating us behind the curtain?  Why is it that there may be a coming civil war in this country and how did we get there?

The only difference I can see from now and my former friendships is this... a combination of 24/7 news cycles and the Internet.  A new world of virtual reality in which people can hit and run comment anonymously and getting rid of friends is as easy as a single click.

I love the friendships I have developed through the Internet, many people for whom I have the same affection as I do those who live in the same town.  However, we do know that the enemy can take what is good and make it used for evil.  I just pray that in my own frustrations at what is written, God guide my fingers and my mouse as well as my tongue to show only grace.

Photo:  The road that runs by my place in the world.


Anonymous said...

Another lovely post from you.....I feel the same way about those lovely triggers: smell of coffee perking, smell of cigar smoke in the distance.....trains in the distance. Phlox, Peonies and lilacs and holly hocks..... gram in the kitchen making Sunday night supper--- all of that and more making Life seem and feel worthwhile and also all of that making values and safety in living , love and respect in family , honor for parents, and grandparents, and following your bliss and loving what you do. Then of course God always in the equation , giving thanks, praying each morning and night, and valuing true friendships through the years, I am thankful for all of that growing up aswell, and endeavor to shine it out now, when life seems to have no purpose, and experience seems to not matter. IT DEOS matter, and whatever we do together in that ONENESS of LOVE in Christ, goes forward to make the way more clear for ourselves and our neighbors..God IS the only Way.....and even if we cannot find the way ourselves at times, peple like you with your faith and sharing, make it more easy to get back on teh mental track of true creation: Genesis 1:31 : And God saw all he had made and behold, it was very m very good." Thanks for this lovely post that shall light my way this day! Merri Mc Elderry

Jill said...

Well said...I fear for our country..but I need to remember God is in charge!. Jill

Jill said...

Well said...I fear for our country..but I need to remember God is in charge!. Jill

lejmom said...

Thank you, thoughts exactly. I love your Sunday columns. Your musings truly minister to me...Jane

Vee said...

A thousand FB friends. < thud > The very thought chills me to the bone, which is why I keep my Instagram private. There is a decided shift in the tone and I am pushing back. I shall not go there with anyone who thinks that civil discourse is old-fashioned or impossible. It's not going to be possible to be in agreement with all these rivaling factions so we really do need civil disunity as Mark Steyn has so eloquently stated.

Goodness that post took a sharp turn.I thought we were chatting about ditch lilies and favorite meals. 😉 My favorite meal is double cheese meatloaf, a baked potato with melting butter AND sour cream, and some chopped chives. Corn on the cob or perhaps creamed corn would be nice and a crisp, fresh salad with smooth ranch dressing would be welcome. A nice pie would be the finishing touch. You didn't mention dessert. 🙃

Kim said...

You have a gift. You put so eloquently what I have been thinking. So thankful that God is the One that truly is in charge!! P.S. You might want to check the spelling in your title. ;)

Sandi said...

There are other forces at work in this world, besides the forces of evil.

Borrowed that from Lord of the Rings. I have at agree with you about why these things are happening.

Thickethouse.wordpress said...

Well, we are not called to hate anyone, really. We are supposed to love. We're not even supposed to judge people. God does that. This is a sad time, but we can keep on trying to love people, to do good and love mercy and walk humbly with God....

But after that.........Vee makes me want to spend some time thinking of my favorite meal. There are many. I loved the roast pork, potato dumplings and steamed cabbage my mother used to make because my father loved it...And her peach pies! And Angel Pie. I'll never be as good a cook as my Mom. But my grandmother's fried chicken and mashed potatoes! I think she usually had it with cucumber salad and tomato salad. I hope I am not sounding too greedy! These are good things to remember!Oh, summer meals of stuffed peppers, corn on the cob and tossed salad....What delight!

Anonymous said...

I was the girl who came down out of the tree and spent many years marching about in the swamps of Michigan ! maybe "marshing" about. !! Many beautiful flowers and plants ,and some unusual ones. I do not recall ever running into a snake , probably because I never proceeded very quietly ! I particularly recall a large swamp at dusk and sitting by an old hickory watching an owl glide across again and again , looking for a meal .That was about 45 years ago , but it replays nicely in my memory . You should have gone in ! you would have liked it LOL Karen Jones

Susan Humeston said...

I remember my favorite meal. Even though my mother was a teacher, she had summers off and she did some fine cooking then. My absolute favorite was - and is - potato chip chicken, her potato salad and peas. Potato chip chicken was a recipe my mother got from a corn flakes box - you mixed corn flakes and potato chips together in a bag a shmushed them into crumbs. Then you melt butter in the end of the pan you are going to cook the chicken in over the stove on low heat. You add poultry seasoning and salt and pepper to the melted butter and stir. Dip the chicken in that and then in the chip/corn flake crumbs. Takes just about an hour or less depending on how much chicken you make. YUM!!!

Deanna Rabe - Creekside Cottage Blog said...

This is a challenging time in the world. I like to remember what Solomon said in Ecclesiastes "There is nothing new under the sun." This helps me when I feel overwhelmed by the evil I see. God knows, and while I do believe this time in history is unique, I believe He is in control.

Your 'last' meal is a favorite of mine, too! Comfort food at its best!

Anonymous said...

These are strange and trying times in which we live but that is what the Bible says we will experience. Not that I'm liking it very much but knowing God is in charge helps with the acceptance of life as it is now.

I have memories of living in Vermont on a dairy farm up until I was six years old. I spent many, many hours "working" (I was only two to six years old) with my Dad and enjoying the freedom that farm life gives one. Those are some of my fondest memories and I am blessed to have them.

Closed my old gmail account so now I'm "anonymous" but I've been reading your blog for years and enjoy every post (I was TheElegantShoestring). Your insight into daily life and spiritual life is always welcome.

Blessings, Ann

Anonymous said...

I know what you mean by the foods, things that trigger memories of times past. Guess I am in the stage of life for musing a great deal about the past...Esp. the parts that brought joy and love.

We have chosen NOT to use Facebook or the other such things. A way of living with more peace in our lives. Yea, lots of stuff I may not ever know or find out about. But in "real life" been oh a plenty of rejections and hurts, so we choose to be "willfully ignorant" when it comes to FB etc. Cause yea, we know enough of our kin to know there would be some hurtful things there. If not outright assault, then just simply learning you are at the bottom of list...which in some cases we already know. It allows us not to have to suffer more. I think there are people, families, etc who do derive benefit from FB and the like...but for those of us without that benefit, it pays to stay away. I am grateful that when my hubby was working, his job demanded that we not be on anything of that kind (and the govt does take its right to demand some things from its employees).
Elizabeth in WA