Wednesday, February 8, 2012

More Insights from Laura Ingalls Wilder

I am reading aloud to my daughter, "These Happy Golden Years".  In the beginning of the book, Laura is teaching at a school about 12 miles from her home and boarding with a man and his wife while she teaches the school for, I believe, 8 weeks.  The wife is sullen, rude, silent and brooding.  She does not speak to Laura at all, even though Laura tries to be pleasant to her.  The wife even threatens to kill her husband one night with a knife if he won't take her home back east.  Granted, the homestead winter was not easy, but the contrast between Laura's time with this family, and the Long Winter with her own family, is sharp.  Laura refuses to complain about her time out with the Brewsters because she knows her family needs the money to keep Mary in college, even though her very life may be in danger.

She is so overjoyed and thankful at the end of the term, when she returns to her own peaceful home.  There is nothing amazing about their home, but Laura's love for her parents and their mutual love and respect for each other sits in sharp contrast to the Brewsters' home.

This morning, I read this scripture:

"Better a little with the fear of the LORD
than great wealth with turmoil.

Better a meal of vegetables where there is love
than a fattened calf with hatred."

- Proverbs 15: 16-17

Although the Brewsters fed Laura sufficiently, the food was flavorless; the atmosphere was heavy in the little claim shanty.  She could not break the sullen weight of that disgruntled wife.

Her home with Ma and Pa and her siblings was peace and joy.  They never seemed to get ahead materially, but they made do and were thankful for the little they had, even if it was the blackbird pie that they made from the blackbirds that ate their entire cornfield.

It was like the perfect story-picture of this proverb.

Then I thought, how is the atmosphere in my home?  Are my children and husband ecstatic to be at home?  Is there fear of the Lord and love in my home?  or turmoil and strife?

I'd like to think that I have a peaceful and joyful home, but it is something to continually strive for.  Circumstances can so often bring turmoil, and those circumstances are so often financial.  It's funny that the Proverb not only contrasts love and hatred, but plenty and want - with plenty on the side of hatred, and want on the side of love.

It is best to be content with little, and not to allow the fear of want to squander the faith and love in our homes.

1 comment:

  1. I lovee your post. You are so right. This is very relevant to my life right now. So you think Laura should've went back home instead of trying to obtain great wealth and being with the unpleasant couple? What do you think the unpleasant couple should have done? The wife is obviously unhappy and homesick. Should she try to see the good where she's at or go back home to the good, perhaps deal with the little that's left after making such an expensive journey?