I was over eating lunch a couple days ago at a dear friend's home. Her grandmother, Mildred Irene Hayes, recently passed away. Mildred's son gave the eulogy at her funeral. Amongst many things he said about his mother, he earnestly pressed how his mother never, ever complained. EVER. She certainly had her share of hardships, but she NEVER complained. Erica was telling me how we generally say that about a lot of people, but truly her grandmother never complained. She always saw the goodness in everything and was so very grateful for anything.
Mildred grew up very poor. They literally had nothing and worked very hard for everything. In the moments that extra time was to be had, she and her sister walked SIX miles to the local pool. SIX MILES. Now this is the best part of the story....
You see, it cost 5 cents to swim at the pool. Their family did not have that extra money. Those two girls walked six miles to WATCH the other kids swim. That was entertainment enough for them. Erica said that often they walked the six miles home or someone would give them a ride. I wish I could have heard their conversations.
I just loved this story. I never met Mildred, but from the few stories I heard that morning it certainly has made me ponder what children actually need. We live in such a time of excess.
I was listening to Dr. Ray Guarendi a couple days ago. A woman had called in to say that her son is extremely disrespectful to the umpires at his baseball games. He is constantly arguing. Dr. Guarendi gave several suggestions on how to remedy the behavior, but he also joked about how baseball is handled now. He was joking about the baseball buffet parents bring now to games. He joked about "the snack" following the game as the "reward" for playing?? He joked that pretty soon snack will be provided after every inning.
There seems such a contrast to this child and Mildred's life. There seems such a contrast between Mildred, who never complained and HAD VERY FEW earthly possessions and opportunities, and this child who had so much more.
I wonder if it is possible to give our children the gift of being in awe of watching OTHER children swim. I have met several individuals who grew up with nothing, but didn't have Mildred's demeanor or gratitude. They actually were very bitter about their circumstances. I would love to discover the hidden link there of denying ourselves pleasures in order to grow a more content heart like Mildred had. Something for myself to ponder.... I am sure my own content heart is #1 in order for their hearts to be content.
The world and the world to come are two enemies. We cannot therefore be friends to both, but we must decide which we will forsake and which we will enjoy. ---Pope St. Clement 1