Earlier this week I shared memories of special tea times I had whilst growing up with my Nana and Pop. As the days have passed since that blog post I've reflected even more on the lives they led 'back then' compared to the life I live now.
Yesterday when I dropped in on Heather and Barb for a visit we chatted about how with more appliances that make work easier, the convenience of a supermarket just down the road, cars to go where we like, and mobile phones and computers to access anyone or anything we need momentarily, we still seem to have less time than our grandparents did.
My Nana worked hard in our little 3-room walk-through flat; every day polishing the taps (both inside and out), sweeping and mopping the linoleum floors, manually feeding the washed clothes through an old mangle to squeeze out the water, cooking every single meal from scratch, and even ironing the bedsheets each washday afternoon. She never slowed down, and it never occurred to her that she should. It was what everyone in her neighbourhood and generation did, and I was privy to grow up as a witness to this. But life for me today is very different to the life she had at the same age.
We tend to look back at the olden days as being 'simpler' and there is a wonderful romanticism attached isn't there? To be sure, life was simpler then - but it was not easy.
They were hard workers and apart from the odd complaint about the weather, bills to pay, or aching knees they just got on with life and did their lot as best they could - and because of this they experienced JOY in a much more gratifying way than I do.
Nana met with some friends she'd known all her life about once a month on a Saturday afternoon. My, she looked a treat stepping out in her best dress, shoes and hat, glittery earrings, and that one swipe of deep rose lipstick and a freshly powdered face to really doll herself up. They'd meet in the ladies lounge at the pub down the road and sometimes I'd get to tag along too if Pop was working that day. In upholstered chairs around a long oak table my Nana and eight to ten other women in their 60's would laugh and tell stories, filling that dimly lit room with more JOY than you can imagine. There was such an appreciation for those few hours each month where home duties were left behind and heartfelt fellowship with each other was embraced and confirmed.
I think the Lord reminded me of this so I could honestly examine my own life, and the (too) many times I've felt tired and overworked and complained about needing a break. You see, I get a break very often compared to my Nana...yet I rarely experience that JOY she did because life is easier for me and I get way more than a few hours a month to escape home responsibilities if I want to.
Now I can't change that, nor do I want to, but what I must do is appreciate my life more and see the over-abundance of JOY that comes from the simplest of things - like sitting down to sip a cup of hot tea at mid-morning and flicking through a cookbook or magazine whilst the clothes are being scrubbed of stains not by me, but by my assistant, the perfectly marvellous washing machine.
I also want to embrace a JOYful attitude as I vacuum the carpet and rugs with our super incredible Miele machine because I was there when Nana had to drag her rugs outside, lay them over a heavy pole line and beat them with a thick length of dowel before carrying them back inside again when she was satisfied not a grain of dust remained in the worn pile.
I could go on and on with examples, but I'm sure you get the point.
When life is taking it's toll, and a less than sweet attitude is filling our thoughts (and maybe our hearts), let's really take some time to reflect on the ease we have in so many things compared to days past and let the JOY of the Lord refill us so that we overflow with those precious 'warm and fuzzies' that can only come from Him.
If we do, then the JOY of the Lord will carry us across the bridge of discontent and weariness into a far better pasture...and I think I can hear an "amen" to that. x
Download the printable Scripture card and devotion HERE.