As a young girl I watched “Little House on the Prairie” with heartfelt envy and wished so much to have been able to live during that time. If it were possible, I would go back to that time, happily. Before the industrial revolution, there were no cars, no television, and many medications and vaccines had not yet been thought of. I know life must have been extremely hard and trying. But as a child, all I could see was a family that loved each other. They lived closely and shared everything in their small but cozy home. Everyone pitched in to do what had to be done, and when time for relaxing finally came, that too, was a family affair.
These days, my favorite era falls in the late 1700’s. Specifically, the stories by Jane Austen and other dramas from that period. With my being a hopeless romantic, the settings that take place in the British Isles, Ireland, and Scotland, are as intoxicating to me as a glass of sweet, red wine. Again, I understand the reality for so many during that age was brutal and extremely unsanitary. It was a horrible part of history for many, of that I’m sure. But I ask you to humor me, because when we dream, aren’t we allowed to block out the unsavory parts of life?
‘Little House’ took place in the late 1800’s, and Ms. Austen’s stories go even farther back during her life in the late 1700’s. I’m sure many a historian could produce the morbid facts of mortality rates and even the blood and guts reality of life for so many during these two centuries. Even I with my limited knowledge can conjure up the worst of situations given those times and the uncivilized ways of man. If you’re wanting to read about that, you’re in the wrong place. Having the dual blessing and curse of a dreamer’s personality, I choose to focus on the good, uplifting, and pleasant events that surely must have also taken place.
Wouldn’t it be interesting, though, if the people from past centuries were able to take a glimpse forward to our time? If by some miracle a television were made available (after they got up from the floor from passing out from shock), and they were able to watch “Life and Times in 2021”, what would they think? Would they see us as having a better way of life, or would our world terrify them? Electricity, cars, highways, airplanes, huge buildings, railways, televisions, movies, cell phones. How would they view us? Would they want to live as we do now?
A friend recently posted an article on Facebook that really hit home for me. The story told how there was a community of women who met at a riverbed on a regular basis to do their family’s laundry. The women helped each other while they talked about their lives, shared stories about their children, and bore each other’s burdens.
Slowly, as each family was able to obtain their own washing machines at home, the women ceased to meet each other. They found they were able to complete chores in less time, which allowed the women to become extremely busy with other pressing activities. Their chores were becoming easier to manage, but the women were also becoming depressed. They didn’t realize the isolation in which they found themselves was due to a major loss of companionship with the other women and ceased to make those much-needed connections because they couldn’t find the time.
If the people from our past were to be able to look forward, I believe they would be amazed at all we have accomplished, but I also think they would see many of us sitting in restaurants and offices staring down at our phones. They would see thousands of cars speeding toward their destinations, with one lone driver inside each car. They would see families in two-and-three story houses, but each member in their separate rooms, watching their separate televisions, or playing their separate games. They would see nearly empty churches, because we’ve become too smart for the need for God’s providence in our lives. I could go on, but I think you get the idea.
I’m thankful for our modern conveniences, I truly am. But how I long for the companionship of family, wishing I had family, and that they lived close by. I have board games that are never played because no one is around to play them. People don’t invite each other over for coffee and a chat anymore. We’re either too busy, too tired, or the house isn’t clean enough. Perhaps we have simply lost the desire to connect anymore.
Even at my age, I long for the awkward politeness of a proper courtship, that might include long walks alongside a river, where he spontaneously picks wildflowers and hands me a makeshift bouquet, then kisses me on the back of my hand, or to bring it more up to date, on the cheek. Today, romance consists of dating sites and sexual expectations from the onset. Somewhere along the way, we have forgotten about the ‘dance’ and go straight to dessert. Someone out there knows what I’m talking about.
Perhaps I will continue to imagine that Pa Ingalls is my dad, and that one day my own Mr. Darcy will show up in the most unexpected place, and all will be as it should be. Without dreams, our time on this earth would be very dull, don’t you think? No matter what, without a doubt my long-awaited Prince of Peace will finally appear, riding on a cloud, and his outstretched arm will take me by the hand to take me home to live with him forever.
If being a dreamer makes me seem out of touch with today’s world, I’ll take it.
Some of my favorites…