Monday, October 01, 2007

Attitude Of Gratitude

Hubby and I took a little time to get out in the beautiful fall weather we had this weekend. We traveled up to Norris to the Museum of Appalachia. I have been wanting to take some pictures there and my hubby was so sweet to wait around while I took a little over 100 pictures.

I'll be sharing a few of them over the next few weeks.

The theme of many of the post on Frugal Fridays and other blogs has been about knowing when we have enough and being wise about how much we bring into our homes. That message was brought home to me when I saw this little cabin on display. It is one of the smallest buildings ever placed on the Register of Historic places.

I wish that I had thought to get the name of the man who lived there. There is a picture by the door of him sitting on the front porch. They try to be as accurate as possible when they arrange the inside of the cabins for display. They use photographs as reference and they display all period pieces. This is probably a very good portrayal of how he lived. I stood in the doorway looking at the house that is smaller than the smallest bedroom in my house and realized that a man lived his life there. Everything he owned was sheltered in those walls. I felt humbled. I was awed by it. I felt gratitude for what I have and at the same time I felt ashamed.

Ashamed of the fact that I couldn't fit everything in the closets of my home in that house. Ashamed that I have a storage building in my backyard almost twice the size of this man's home.

When did we change so? When did "stuff" take over our reason for living? We always seem to need bigger, better and more of it. We expect it. We think we deserve it. We cannot have gratitude for what we have because we expect to have more.

Meanwhile, it consumes us, controlling our lives with longer work weeks to pay for it all, often at jobs we hate but can't afford to quit. It infringes on our free time by requiring constant maintenance and upkeep of our "investments" .

We claim to admire and respect people who are good and honest. The ones to whom family means so much. People who live simple, grounded, purposeful lives. But it is the ones who live lifestyles exactly the opposite who cover the pages of our magazines .

They are the ones who you can't turn on the TV without having to see, everything they do makes for headlines and is talked about on even the news channels. They are the ones so many aspire to be like.

I think if this man were here today, living in his little house, content with the basic necessities of life, I don't think many of us would look favorably on him. I think the labels of lazy, shiftless, and possibly even crazy would be used liberally and often.

Would I want to live in a tiny little house like that? Probably not. Could I? If I had too.

It would be painful. It would take a major shift in lifestyle. I would like to think I could do it. I hope that I could do it. I pray to cultivate the attitude that I would need. That's a beginning isn't it?

“Each of us will one day be judged by our standard of life -- not by our standard of living; by our measure of giving -- not by our measure of wealth; by our simple goodness -- not by our seeming greatness.”

William Arthur Ward


Anonymous said...

Think about how the world would be like today if we all aspired to be like this man... we all talk about wanting a simple life, but would we be happy if we really had a "simple life?"

Barb J.

Carrie J said...

Barb, Thanks so much for your comment.

I think it is easier to aspire to living a more simple life if you are older. My kids have been brought up in a time where we are bombarded with advertising, friends who have parents who buy them anything and everything they want, and just in general, availability of items to purchase that simply were not around in my day.
I remember Christmas with a doll, a tea set and a pair of house shoes. Excess was frowned upon.
It would be really difficult to go back to living without luxuries, like a dishwasher, washing machine and indoor plumbing. I think there are things I could cut out bit by bit and move closer to that kind of lifestyle.

Patty said...

Sure makes you feel like we all have so much compared to these folks. We have a bigger house for sure, but I love my life without all the extras. Each day my work keeps me fit and thankful for a feather bed each night to rest my weary bones in.
To answer Barb, yes, I am happy with my simple life, minus the dishwasher, dryer, one set of sheets for each bed, making our soap, spinning our wool, sewing our clothes, heating our house with wood, and lighting our home with lamplight, growing our food for the most part, but I am not sure I could live without this computer ! When the children were still home our second vehicle was a pony and buggy ! It was simple

Carrie J said...

Patty, Thanks for the comment. You live much closer to that life than almost anyone I know. The computer is a wonderful tool. It broadens our community and gives us the opportunity to meet people we otherwise would have to do without in our lives. My oldest daughter lives 8 hours away and my son is moving to Texas next month. I am so thankful that we have the computer to keep in touch. We are going to set up a family blog. My sister and I share one. It is a great way to share pics and info with everyone at once.

Sonny said...

The change from the simple life came in/around the 50's and has escalated to the point we have now.According to one of my profs. that is. Sometimes I think that we acquire so much stuff(some of us)because we did not have some of the same stuff others had but we could not afford. Sounds petty when you proof read it. Advertising is a killer when it comes to purchasing stuff. They make it look so good and will make your life simpler. That is odd itself. We buy more stuff to make our life easy.

My name is Michelle. said...

What a lovely post Carrie.

Sara said...

This is such a thoughtful post, and I have shared those same feelings of being ashamed that I have so much, and so much is easy to waste in our culture, and so very many in this world are desperate for even a dry crust of bread to sustain life . . .

Mom of 3 said...

Amazing. And how humbling to know that that man lived his life in a home so small with just the basics.