Monday 25 June 2012

Being Old-Fashioned

Perhaps you might expect me to apologise for this old-fashionedness....this love of making things “from scratch”, of preferring books to a TV, of cooking and baking and loving a simpler life. Of not partying or drinking very much, of loving the outdoors and working hard with my hands and mind. Is it old-fashioned to look at the outline of a tree in the sky and see poetry? To not have to be happy and still be joyful? To be content even if, like Daniel, you don’t like the place you live? Is “old-fashioned” wrong if is upright and holy? Has being modest gone out of fashion with Christians? Am I wrong to not want to live like my neighbour, even as I live with them? Am I weird for not wearing the fashion because it just doesn’t seem.....Godly?

In noticing that I’m rather an odd one out around here, I have some to agree with Elizabeth Bennet:

“There are few people whom I really love, and still fewer of whom I think well. The more I see of the world, the more am I dissatisfied with it; and every day confirms my belief of the inconsistency of all human characters, and of the little dependence that can be placed on the appearance of merit or sense.”

I’m learning much about what I respect in people. One of my favourite phrases is that something or someone is “unkind, rude, and disrespectful”. These three things are probably the worst character traits in my eyes. Kindness shows the choice of love, politeness valuing the other person more, and respect again putting them first. These traits seem to be overlooked or thought of as old-fashioned. They’ve gone out of style. Gone are the days when you wouldn’t speak to someone unless you were introduced to them – out of politeness and as not to be disrespectful. Gone are the days when simple politeness was “normal” and it wasn’t unheard of for someone to help a stranger – and the stranger didn’t think they were going to be mugged. Not too long ago, when I was about 7.5 months pregnant, I was on a bus standing next to an elderly lady. Yes, standing, while both men and women sat and looked at us. I was appalled, embarrassed for their lack on manners – especially to have a wee old lady stand while they sat!

So where is my rant going....well, it’s just that I am thinking a lot about honour these days. Honour of God and honour of my husband mostly, and then how that looks in my life. And I think that one of the ways I’m honouring God is by being what the world calls “old-fashioned”. In my life right now that means I’m choosing specific things for Charlotte – like having her life be very simple – not a lot of toys, not a lot of things like TV and music (other than simple Sunday school songs and classical music). It looks like me being careful in my choices of time management. It would be really easy for me to watch too much TV now that I’m home all the time, or fritter away the time. Rather than that, I am choosing to be careful that what I read is wholesome (another old-fashioned thing) and that I spend some extra time studying the Bible.

And this is all leading where? Hopefully to a better understanding of what it means to be in the world but not of it. That I learn better to honour God and people around me, and that as Charlotte grows she sees the fruits of kindness, gentleness and self-control. Joyfulness being better than “happiness” and that she (and I) realise that contentedness is something to choose.

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