Saturday, January 13, 2007A Taste of Real Wealth
I went back to Ohio for the holidays, where my family has 55 acres of land in the beautiful Eastern rolling hills. There they have some goats, chickens and cows, as well as many cats and a border collie. They also have a woodstove and a windmill, gardens and fruit trees, lots of woods to explore. In short, they have a pretty special little corner of the universe to themselves. My parents have 3 children at home presently. I abide in Washington and my 21-year-old brother is finishing up a degree up at the University of Michigan this spring. My family has a lot of financial stresses and lifestyle choices which make it difficult to live so far out in the country. As we all do, they have their own little package of trials and struggles to work through! However, what they are indeed very rich in is the richness of life on the land. They are wealthy in ways many of us are very poor. They have the open air, the stillness, the smell of woodsmoke and the distant, clear, resonant sound of a goat's bell out in the fields. They can see the stars at night; they can hear the windmill turning; they can hear the distant dog bark miles away... in essence, in that place they can hear the beating of their own heart, the stirring of their souls. It was there that I really went through my deepest spiritual changes. I think that the quiet and the beauty of the countryside assists in instilling in one the yearning for God as well as the discovery of Him. Being there was a reminder to me of the really important goals in my life. I want to be able to not just teach my children how to think, to read, to write, but to give them the peace and stillness of mind which is the best foundation for good, healthy movements of mind and heart. I want my children to get their hands into the earth, into the soil. I want them to discover the wonders of the woods, the fields, the sky, the open air. I want them to learn the plants in the area. The list goes on. Most importantly, I want to give them the healthiest foundation possible for their journey in life. How good it is, also, for children to be around animals! While I was home I took my son for a walk every day to visit the animals. We chased the chickens, fed the goats hay, and watched the cows chew their cud... My son really watched, listened and observed. Out there in the fields he, like me, was still, quiet and peaceful as we fed the animals and walked through the grass. On Christmas Eve it was especially good to be amidst the animals, the sweet smell of hay. -For animals in the manger surrounded our Lord when He was born! God chose for Our Lord to be born in stable, amidst animals. Animals are not dirty and unclean. Many of them are noble, dignified beasts to be taken care of with reverence and care.
I am sort of rambling on I suppose. In essence, it was good to be reminded that in the noisiness of our cities it is indeed harder to be still and peaceful, whereas in the countryside, it is peaceful and still, providing that stillness of mind and heart neccesary for our growth in interior health.
Ah, the good things in life...
~Sia is back home in Vancouver, WA now