Dumping Difficult

I remember as a small child back in the day, experiencing a culture that is no longer the norm. My mom and dad were not rich people.  He was a baker, and she was a housewife.  They both worked very hard.

Mom would clean the house throughout the week, one room per day. She made all the meals and washed the dishes in the sink.  She entertained me, played games and flash cards with me that taught me my ABC’s and to read and count. She washed our clothes with a ringer washer and hung them on the clothesline to dry.  She mopped the floors, polished the furniture, the silverware, and our shoes. She cleaned the windows inside and out with vinegar and newspaper.  She walked to the market to do our shopping and canned vegetables in the fall.  She spent time embroidering dish cloths, table cloths and pillow cases, and mending our clothes.  And I was mom’s little helper.

Dad took care of the yard, the garden, the house, the car, and us. He would get up in the wee hours of the morning to go bake breads and cookies and cakes, and come home in the early afternoon and go to sleep.  I would have to be very quiet in the afternoons so he could sleep.  Then he would wake up and we would have dinner together.  We had maybe another hour or two after that to play or watch him take care of household needs.  I was always his little helper, too.  Then he would go off to bed.

Perhaps none of this sounds particularly strange compared to today. But what stood out about our life back then was how we approached our daily life.

Mom and Dad didn’t ever throw anything out. They repurposed. They re-used. They didn’t purchase anything without long hard consideration to the absolute need of that thing.  An electric mixer?  How extravagant.  Hand mixing works just fine.  Mom used the flour sacks from Dads work to make our dish cloths.  Glass food jars became containers for washers, nails and screws.  Dad made his own cement to touch up our steps and sidewalk by hand.  He drove our old blue car long before I came along, and until I was almost 18. Their clothes were done in that Maytag ringer washer until I was 30-something.

The key is, nothing was thrown out for being old, or used, or not as nice as something else, or even broken, unless it was the absolute last resort. Everything mattered.  Much of those decisions were founded on necessity due to limited finances.  And we always had limited finances.

Sometimes my parents fought loud and long—usually about whether something was needed or not. But they always worked it out and stuck it out, through thick and thin, because they said for better or worse.

Mom and the neighbor ladies would all get together during the day and drink coffee, and swap things that could be useful to each other. Dad and the neighborhood men often gathered after the dinner hour in someone’s garage and would talk through their fix-it lists and offer each other help and parts.  Us kids all played together, running through the yards and the ally, playing cops and robbers, cowboys and Indians, and no one was ever offended or terrified about words, or playing bang-bang shoot um up with toy guns. There were no fences carving out property lines. The dogs all roamed free and visited each-others homes for treats.  Everyone helped everyone.  We were a city block community.  A day of long hard work was normal and to be expected.  The reward was the kinship of the neighborhood and the love of family.

Those were the days.

Today it’s a little different. There are more borders, and boundaries.  Less kinship or kindness.  We seem to be so much more disposable.  There doesn’t seem to be a value in “stuff management”.  We want new.  We want perfect.  We want convenience. There doesn’t seem to be a value in “people management”.  Jobs are temporary. Relationships are temporary.  We can dismiss family and friends with the wave of a hand over an opinion.  Even our pets are so. tragically. disposable.

You have an issue? Get rid of the problem.  Walk away.  Disposable.

We buy, we break, we buy. We want, we get, we don’t want, we dump.  Nothing holds meaning. Nothing lasts.  Nothing.  Not material things, not living things, nothing.  And when things get difficult—we dump them.

What do we value?

Dumping difficult is not in my nature.   Yet, I admit I’ve been just as caught up in the needs versus wants craze as many of us are over the years.  I’ve never been one to walk the path of least resistance.  I’ve always been the one to find myself crawling up the jagged rocks.  Reaching, striving, enduring.   Trying to find balance in recognizing the difference between wisely letting go of that which you do not need, and not just turning away when situations become hard. Lately, feeling like I’m trapped in a crazy disposable world, trying not to be a part of it, I’ve turned inward to remind myself about all of the good, all of the reasons to stay, to try, to help, and to persevere.   I’ve turned inward to reflect and remind myself  how little “I” truly matters.

Thank the Gods I’ve been focused, present, aware, and determined.

Thank the Gods that I can see value and find comfort in taking the hard road, bringing it all back a few notches, finding space, peace and calm in the midst of rocky chaos.

Thank the Gods for those who also share that spirit of grace, kinship and humility. Those that choose to ride the storms out together, not apart. Those that have open doors, open minds, open hearts.

At the end of the day, that’s what I value. Society can continue to spin off the charts in “disposable-ness”. But dumping difficult simply has no place in my world.

 

Thank you for reading my post. Did it strike a chord for you or did it seem far and away from your own perspective?  I’d love to hear your thoughts!  All comments are greatly appreciated.  You can read about all sorts of ideas, opinions and feelings from the heart and soul of an outdoorswoman… there are lots of topics covered in my blog category, “Girl Outdoors”.  If you like what you see, please let me know by “liking” my website.  You can even join my tribe to automatically receive new postings ‘hot off the press’.  There’s a place to do that right on my website homepage.  As always, please feel free to share my information with others who may find interest and value in PR Brady AdVentures!  Thanks again!

 

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