Saturday, March 07, 2009
Well, it's Something.........
It is 47 degrees outside. I let all the chickens out and walked the dogs in celebration. Beside the front door the ice has melted, and the first tiny green leaves are poking up next to the shovel. You may have to look closely to see them, but they are really there. This is the first Winter that I have ever considered "hard." I will be glad to see it over, though I still wouldn't want to have missed it. There is a certain sense of satisfaction in dealing with what is, with as much good humor as possible. I don't envy those who escape to Florida or some other warm place. In fact, I must admit, I feel a slight superiority. There's a hint of scorn in my attitude as I listen to stories of sunny days, warm beaches, and blooming flowers.
I think it is in my blood and bones to see valor in "toughing it out," to admire those willing to endure. I don't know how such a thing can be part of a person's DNA. It is probably a result of upbringing and culture. If so, it's amazing that enough regional culture still exists in the modern world to allow certain characteristics to typify any one area. This area was steeped in early Protestantism. There was value in hard work and self-sufficiency. Suffering was something to be accepted as part of life. The church still dictates what we do, and even how we feel, reaching out its tentacles of morality long after the source has ceased to have much influence.
As an atheistic child, I comtemplated what determined good and bad. I wondered if humans depended on religion to show them what was right or wrong. I wondered if right and wrong existed outside of the church. It seemed that the function of religion was to keep us in line. People seemed to think that without it, we would be abominable creatures. I reasoned that it couldn't be true, that people were good naturally , that nastiness toward others was abherrent behavior. Fueling this idea was the fact that I had no religion, nor did my family, yet we were still nice people.
Little did I realize that the words from my mouth, the ideas in my head, were nothing less than Martin Luther, John Wesley, Joseph Smith, et al, reaching forward, undetected, like an invisible, invasive virus out of the past, letting me think that what I believed was born spontaneously out of my own mind.