Is our present day one of better quality of life? In many ways, yes, but somehow we largely have lost the gift of finding our contentment in the everyday.
I do not know why this is, exactly, but I do believe it is a widespread phenomenon of our society. Most likely the development of the art of scorn has its part in it. We have a thousand reasons why we would disparage contentment. Perhaps we have mistaken scorn for ambition. Disparagement seeming to lead to desire for betterment. How sad a case! We deride the ideals of perfection, or that there may even be perfection, but we esteem implacable criticism. Where have we misplaced our impetus to excellence in the vicious derision of simple joys? Of quiet lives? Of focus?
I started thinking of this after I came across a quote from Elinore Pruitt Stewart, of long ago. She is only one of many women writers that have some observations on how they discovered contentment. And it was often in the mundane, but no less beautiful for that. I realize there were also writers of such as Charlotte Gilman Perkins “The Yellow Wallpaper”, and I am not suggesting that the past was a better time, it was a different time. I do believe the human condition is one in which we have, at our core, some unchanging qualities of what it is to be human. At that core is the ability to find our happiness and overcome our misery. In our own subjective degrees.
So this season I offer to you the quote that you may dig into for your own nugget of wisdom. And if you find only an account of something of raising farm animals and deadening chores, then I cannot help you, but if you look within your own life and find foundation for something of your own contentment, then it has been time well spent for the both of us.
” When you think of me, you must think of me as one who is truly happy. It is true , I want many things I haven’t got, but I don’t want them enough to be discontented and not enjoy the many blessings that are mine. I have my home among the blue mountains, my healthy well-formed children, my clean honest husband, my kind, gentle milk cows, my garden which I make myself. I have loads and loads of flowers which I tend myself. There are lots of chickens, turkeys, and pigs which are my own special care. I have some slow old gentle horses and an old wagon. I can hold up the kiddies and go where I please anytime. I have the best, kindest neighbors and I have my dear absent friends. Do you wonder I am so happy?”