Saturday, March 7, 2009

What really counts.

Some tough stuff these days, huh?

If you watch the news or even if you don't, you're likely feeling the looming gloom of our current economic forecast. If it hasn't directly affected you, it has likely affected someone you know. And in this time of contraction, we, as a country, are facing facts that today's generation has been too modern to heed.

You know how you'd return to your grandparents' kitchen as a teenager or as an adult, and nothing had changed since you were 3 years old? The same textured wall paper, the same tissue cozy, the same cookie jar. Or maybe you remember as a child seeing a movie or ordering pizza knowing it was a very big deal? How about when you'd notice something around your parents' or in-laws' home that really should be replaced ... but wasn't? There were reasons for all of those things. And those resourceful, responsible reasons are why I love homemade birthday cakes, rotary dial phones, any 1999 or prior vehicles still on the road, backyard gardens and overalls.

I've often professed my love for the Midwest for many reasons, the first being pragmatism. I love Midwestern practicality. None of this flighty, hoighty-toighty, marketing mumbo-jumbo. Purchases must be practical, efficient, affordable and durable. Stylish, if you're very lucky. Basing purchase decisions on those criteria could keep a gal out of a lotta debt, worry and trouble, however no one talks about these things on any of the reality shows or in People magazine. Up until last year, those shows and magazines really just talked about stuff.

That made me wonder if we've lost the value of values. Maybe not everyone in the entire world has, but those in the decision-making positions of banks, mortages, investment firms, car manufacturers and insurance companies certainly did.

But they are not the only reason why we're in this state. Movies, TV shows and commercials have given us plenty of modern ways to size up other people. It's by your cell phone (what kind? how new?), your car (what model? how tiny or ginormous?) or if your clothes are stylish (where did you buy them? what size are you?) or if you have white cords coming from your ears. Pretty silly, huh? Especially in light of the things we've shared here on Kyrie's blog. Hard to believe, but I've seen this materialism seep into my beloved Midwest, too. For shame. Perhaps this economic contraction is really the labor pains to birth a new appreciation for who you are not what you are, not what you have but what you do.

If that is the take-away from today's painful group lesson, then what a wonderful world tomorrow will be.

There are times when it is hard to believe in the future, when we are
temporarily just not brave enough. When this happens, concentrate on the
present. Cultivate le petit bonheur (the little happiness) until
courage returns. Look forward to the beauty of the next moment, the next hour,
the promise of a good meal, sleep, a book, a movie, the likelihood that tonight
the stars will shine and tomorrow the sun will shine. Sink roots into the
present until the strength grows to think about tomorrow.

Ardis Whitman
American Author


Shawna Carpenter said...

That was a beautiful entry. I was reminded of my grandma's strawberry kitchen wallpaper and the same oilcloth table cover that was on the table for my 4th b-day. I love being reminded about what matters. Counting the blessings should be done more often in these times, and I will be sure to do so today.

Lissasings said...


motherof2 said...

How are you all doing/dealing with your grief? Can we get an update?