One routine for which I am truly grateful is our evening story time. At about 8pm every evening, once the littlest two are in bed, we settle down in front of the log burner to soak ourselves into the world of this nineteenth century family, as they seek to survive during the coldest winter they had known.
I first read this book to our oldest two sons about eight years ago and it has found a firm place in our winter reading library. This year the story spoke to us, in our current situation, as we read of Pa, Ma, Laura, Mary, Carrie and little Grace, trapped in their homes, with school cancelled and little to do each day. Our grumblings are daily put in check as we read of frozen ceiling nails, needing to eat only twice a day due to lack of food and a lack of heat and light.
I have found myself wondering from time to time what Ma and Pa would make of our current situation. I have laughed as I have thought how ridiculous they would find smart phones and all day distractions from technology. Pa was quite sceptical of progress, he thought it made you dependent on others. He probably had a point. As our family seeks to be more self sufficient, we are daily reminded of how much we do not know and how many skills have been lost to ‘progress.’
We are trying to embrace the best of the new, with ground source heating, insulation, electric milker and washing machine, to name a few items which are hugely helpful. We are also seeking to rediscover some ‘old ways.’ We hope to find a slower pace of life, a life based around the rhythms of nature, seasons, sunrise and sunset. We have already begun this journey and already, we are feeling the benefits of this simpler life.
I recently had a Bible verse brought to mind, one that in many ways reminds us of what we are working towards. ‘This is what the LORD says: “Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls.’ Jeremiah 6:16. We often find, in the busyness of our modern life, it is harder to find time to stop and hear God’s voice, but when we follow the ancient paths, the ways of our forefathers, we stop our rushing, we put down our technological distractions and we take time to listen to him.
Some days my soul does not feel at rest, some days are just hard. On those days, if I step outside and start to work with my hands, I feel my shoulders drop, my jaw release, my mind clear and I start to see why we must pursue this goal with ever greater zeal. As the world ‘progresses’ ever faster, we are seeking after the ‘ancient paths’, there we will find rest for our souls.