Remember When Life Was Simple?   4 comments

the_waltonsI’m sitting here listening to instrumental hymns on Pandora.  It transports me back to a childhood full of the good feelings of an uncomplicated world, truth distilled into a plain, straightforward way of life agreed on by everyone, at least everyone who was right.  All of us knew what was good and bad–and who was good and bad.  There was no confusion or doubt, no questions or tangles to sort out, but as simple as The Waltons or The Sugar Creek Gang, a Christian book series about boys who always did the right thing (or paid dearly for failing).

Spiritual progress was like apprenticing to a trade.  The models were showcased, especially parents, so we all knew what the finished product should look like, and the tools were laid out (Bible reading, prayer, church) so we knew how to get there.  It was simply a matter of perfecting the skills, getting better and better at using these methods and plans to reach that end. The answers were all given, we just had to memorize them and put them to practice like a multiplication table.wood working

As children we were shielded from any real danger, but as we grew older we were trained in beating back the onslaught of the world.  We were supplied with all the reasons why those who disagreed with us were wrong, and we were constantly warned not to listen to liberal and secular views, except as a means to spot the weaknesses to refute.  We were on the side of God.  What else mattered?  As long as we stayed in the circle of safety it felt secure, we belonged, and nothing ahead could bring us down.

That contentment of security and simplicity warms my heart to recall and re-feel.  Except it’s like the nostalgia I feel from watching The Waltons–I never lived in a wood-frame house outside a small town with dirt roads and plain, country neighbors, so that sense of loss is for a past I never had.  I do have genuine and positive childhood memories, but they have been sanitized, split off from the fear and guilt and shame I lived with for failing to meet family standards.  The questions and confusion and inner turmoil I faced as an adult did not come from the incursions of a secular perspective, but from the inherent dissonance in my heart of the worldview in which I was raised.

There was much good in my childhood home and much good in my parents, but their prefab worldview did not work for me.  I tried hard to make it fit, like the lad David trying on Saul’s armor, but it hurt and hobbled instead of helping me.  In some sense I think this is everyone’s story because we all differ in some profound ways from our parents, and so we must find the path that works best for ourselves.  For some of us, blazing a new trail is so scary and hard that we start our own journey much too late in life.  I struggled through my adolescent independence at forty.

Perhaps our longing for a past we lost but never really had is homesickness for a past we really did have, but older than memory, a past where we walked hand-in-hand with God in an unspoiled world.  Perhaps that yearning was planted in us as a whispered promise to pull us on till we see the face of God once again.  So let me remember the good ol’ days with fondness and stoke the hope that helps me lift each tired leg on this long journey home.

holdingthelightgn0

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Posted February 19, 2014 by janathangrace in Uncategorized

4 responses to “Remember When Life Was Simple?

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  1. Such a gift you have with words. And prayers for your journey…forward and back.

  2. was very blessed by that

    • Thank you for saying so! It often seems futile to me to toss my thoughts out on the waves where perhaps no one shares my feelings and experience, which makes me feel lonely and isolated and as though my efforts are meaningless.

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