"Time doesn't stop. Your life doesn't stop and wait until you get ready to start living it. Those years of the war were not a blank, and yet during all that time I was waiting. We all were waiting."
Your life doesn't stop and wait until you get ready to start living it.
One of the profound joys of reading is hearing someone outside yourself speak something that is true, something that you recognize is true. I get a tingly feeling moving up my leg when that happens.
This passage is found in Chapter Six (does it bug you that I jump around?) and Hannah is describing life in Port William during the war. I think it's a brilliant description of what people do when they know perfectly well that, if allowed, naming their griefs and fears could render them useless and paralyzed. Not naming them doesn't make them go away but it does allow them to move through space and time, through a daily existence of purpose and work. And this is how the folks in Port William live through the war years: they don't talk about their fears and griefs, they just keep going about their lives, fully aware that everyone is acquainted with the elephant in the room, large and pink.
There is waiting. Waiting for the war to be over and in the midst of waiting, a life has to be lived. And pleasures come whether you invite them or not, because God made us to enjoy His goodness and to feel His pleasure in good things. Wendell doesn't come out and say this, but I think it's what he means when he says:"And yet pleasures came. It was a pleasure-giving house and place, a place we were glad to be. Farming went on, housekeeping went on, cooking went on, eating and sleeping went on."(Apart from the farming, this sounds like my life: housekeeping, cooking, eating and sleeping. Hey, Hannah! Are you talking to me?)
I love the list of pleasures that follow. Who among us has not experienced the goodness represented in this list?suppers in Hargrave with Auntie Ora, followed by games of rummy
reading books and discussing them ("a dependable pleasure")
summertime visits with energetic, adventurous, fearless little boys
long summer evenings spent on front porches
The older I get the more I appreciate living the life I've been given, taking joy and finding satisfaction in my daily work and noticing the pleasures when they come. I love Wendell for validating lives lived this way...not specifically in a place like Port William...but in an awareness that every day is a gift and there is pleasure to be found in the ordinary and a satisfaction to be gained in appreciating the pleasures, no matter the form in which they come.
I think we call them simple pleasures. Maybe a better term would be ordinary pleasures.
And I don't think you need to be a farmer or a housewife to experience them. :)
My apologies for letting this blog go unfed for a few days. Instead, I was feeding my family and essentially being held in the vortex of daily living. Tammy calls it the spin cycle.
I'd love to know, in addition to your thoughts on simple pleasures and living the life you've been given, where are you in the book? We don't want to move ahead too quickly if folks are still enjoying the goodness that is Part One.
Thanks for being here, even when I'm not.