Thursday, July 19, 2012

In Which I Ponder the Mysteries of Life


I've been a neglectful blogger lately. Since it's the middle of wedding season and we were recently jaunting across the country, blogging has been way down towards the bottom of the To Do list.

Yesterday I baked eighteen cakes, today I made 150 cupcakes and tomorrow the plan is to bake 120 servings of pie. I also washed all the dishes.

When I take a moment to put my feet up and sip a cold drink, I read a few pages of my library book, Peter the Great, His Life and World by Robert Massie. Earlier this summer I read Massie's latest book Catherine the Great, Portrait of a Woman and I enjoyed it so much that I decided to pick up the book that earned the author a Pulitzer Prize back in the 1980's. Never in a million years would I have predicted that 17th and 18th century Russian history would hold my attention but these books have. Massie is an engaging writer who weaves many elements of European culture, history and historic figures into his telling of the lives of these Russian tsars. I've learned about Voltaire, Louis the XIV, the French Revolution, and much more than I ever learned in school and I have found it fascinating. Go figure.

A good study of history does many things for a person and today it has lead me to ponder more deeply the great blessing of being born in the twentieth century and all that that means. Most people know on the surface of their thoughts that we have many blessings and luxuries and a relative life of ease, but when a person reads what life was like for a large portion of humankind for most of world history, these realities become more acutely felt.

Even the poorest of people, living on minimum wage or government subsidies in a rented abode somewhere in downtown America live better than a large part of humanity did in the last one thousand years. I don't claim to be an expert on history but it doesn't take much reading to see this pretty clearly. Those of us who own property and have time for such things as travel and blogging are really living like the nobilty of ages past. Nobility? Though I don't own an estate with numbers of servants to run the daily goings-on, I do have many “servants” through which my life is made luxurious. The average person anytime before the nineteenth century, had to find fuel to keep themselves warm and to cook their food. They had to not only make their own clothing but often the fabrics too. They had to grow and preserve their food. The smallest necessities of life had to be made or procured with great effort or price. I can flip a switch for light and heat, turn a knob to cook my food or wash my hair, buy just about anything I need or desire and much that is completely unnecessary. Kings and tzars that wanted to send a communication had to hire someone to take a written document and wait days or weeks for it to reach its destination. I can sit down and by tapping my fingers, instantaneously communicate with innumerable people all over the world. Pretty amazing when you ponder it.

My household servants are named Maytag, Frigidaire and Cuisinart. I don't need to order anyone to harness the horses when I fancy a trip to town. What in the world do I have to complain about, really?

To bake the cakes and pies that I have this week would have required a small army in any other time and place before now.

In 17th century Russia, speaking a word against the reigning sovereign could result in having a tongue publicly cut out and sometimes even execution for treasonous behavior. When I see people complaining on Facebook about their political representatives I wonder if they realize the great privilege they possess to do so.

How is it that God chose to let me live in this time of ease and privilege? Whatever His plan is, I am resolved to be more grateful.

2 comments:

  1. hey, Mysteries of Life is my blog. ;-) Good post and very good perspective.

    Icarus,

    http://www.mysteries-of-life.com/

    ReplyDelete

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