Keeping my nest eggs safe
Have you ever indulged in one of those online personality quizzes?
My girls think they’re great fun and even I enjoy an occasional diversion into what ‘the formula’ tells me about my psyche. The free, online tests are fun but there are detailed questions and quizzes designed to “officially” determine our capabilities, attitudes — even likability. Can a bunch of preconceived questions truly determine who, what and why I am the way I am? Can it predict if I will work well with others, interact flawlessly in a group or make certain decisions in a given situation? I’m doubtful. A test can’t predict my heart. It doesn’t factor in the state of my soul or the wild escapades of my emotions on an hourly basis. It can’t relate to the fact that I was inspired by a sunset or the Psalm I read in morning devotions. It is unfeeling, incapable of empathy and therefore, not an accurate judge of anything save the test taker’s ability to predict the best answer.
Unfortunately, the world puts great stock in test results. Society wants to gauge our personality, mentality, state-of-mind. And rather than ask or attempt to know us personally, society — as is the norm these days — takes the shortcut. A quick test will tell them everything they need to know. It’s a way of thinking that mirrors that of the infamous Common Core standards in American schools — but that’s a hot topic discussion for another day. The point is this: we have lost the art of communication. We trust a computer to gauge another’s worth by a list of questions with terminal answers. We tweet, post, pin and stumble … endlessly. And for what? Not for our own good, I am sure. I don’t really have a solution for this madness — in fact I encourage and willingly participate in these acts of superficial existence every single day. I do it personally, I do it professionally and yeah, I do it because it’s enjoyable. Mostly. Until it’s overwhelming and burdensome and deflating.
Perhaps that’s why it’s my nature to hole up in my nest.
I feather and fluff, paint and redecorate. I love my nest but most importantly I love the people in my nest. Home is where the heart is. You can think “cliche!” if you like, but a truer statement was never made. I crave my people, my traditions, my simple little daily dos and don’ts. I want dirt on my hands and grass under my feet and chickens pecking near the porch. I want animals in pastures quietly munching away the day. I want my children around me — laughing, squabbling, inquiring. I want the kindness of strangers and the comfortable association of neighbors and friends. I want community, with all of its quirks and idiosyncrasies. I want my husband to stand firm and strong against the tidal wave of intrusion that threatens the very existence of happy families everywhere. And most of all I want — need — God to trust and obey. For as the hymn says, “there’s no other way to be happy … but to trust and obey.”
My homing instincts are intense these days — exhausting, even. I’ve recently discovered I’m not treading water alone. I’ve spoken to several friends about my need to protect and uphold a way of life that feels like it’s under attack, slowly devalued by outspoken and vigilant aggressors. Strangely enough these friends — these neighbors, knew the feeling — that our world seems increasingly loud, obnoxious and overbearing. That some days sticking our head in the sand seems the best course of action though it’s exactly the path to our demise.
Yes, there are most certainly miracles on every corner and love at every turn. There is kindness and mercy and gentle peace — but finding it is not for the weak or timid. The extroverts are out in force and they’re loud, lusty and boisterous. They put a strain on the quiet goodness of ordinary days. Don’t bother to turn on the “news” — you’ll find little else but political posturing and childish bickering by shameless individuals bent on … what?! Any number of vile things.
It’s enough to make my stomach churn. It’s enough to make me pray without ceasing. So perhaps that is, after all, the point of this madness — this endless testing of minds and hearts and souls. Maybe life is one big personality test and the only question worth answering is, “Do you believe?”
Recently, I read something that couldn’t be closer to the truth for me personally:
I would rather be amongst forest animals and the sounds of nature,
than amongst city traffic and the noise of man.”
The louder the environment the harder it is to recognize goodness.
And what is good? God. I suppose I am one of those borderline introverts (and I don’t need a test to tell me so!). I venture out into the wild and woolly world as I must but I’m perfectly content to stay home and smell the
roses laundry. And it’s an unimaginable blessing to me that my professional work can be done from home, too. I need the solitude to function at full capacity. I jokingly call my space a ‘work cave’ because I once saw a cartoon with a cave man typing on a laptop. It said something like, “I’ve decided to withdraw from society and live in a cave. All I need is the Internet.”
Is it age? It is mid-life musings? Perhaps. Or maybe I’m a product of my environment. No matter. All I know for sure is that I abhor the rat race and I can’t take much of the hustle and bustle anymore. I crave quiet reflection and birdsong. I need the constant stream of thought and opinion that flow from my fingers into a keyboard and onto the screen in front of me. So perhaps I really could live in a cave — I know how to make candles, grow food, store produce, make maple syrup and wash my clothes in a bucket. But I do need the Internet … because that’s where YOU are. And I’m so glad you meet me here to share and comment. I’m here in my cave, you see, and I crave your voices, your insights and thoughts. I need you, dear readers, as a sounding board — as a compass and gauge. I like to know what you think about things I write. Because for me, the words of Flannery O’Connor are utterly true:
I write because
I don’t know what I think
until I read what I say.