legacy & ceilings

keys to the past
what is the difference between restoration, as both a historical & biblical concept, and romantisization or nostalga?  what instinctively make us want to return to the past?  to the golden age of our lives or history?  what have we left behind of value & use?  what did they work hard to pioneered, fought for or invent that we have overlooked and undervalued? what have we lost touch with and what have we gained?

i recently followed a historical documentary series entitled ‘victorian farm’. the series project required that three historians give up their modern day lives for one year and live as authentically as possible to 19th century victorian custom & culture.

at the series end, they interviewed the three historians about the effect the experiment had had on them. it was life changing, eye-opening, transforming to say the least.
i was inspired & i began to ask questions.  how would it change my life perspective if my family had the opportunity to live in the victorian era?  how exactly would it transform us & our ideals?  how much is my family a product of the culture & era i currently live in?  how would our quality & purpose for life be altered? what would be restored in the process & what would be lost? 

we would leave behind convenience & obvious medical & technological advances, certain definitions of comfort & leisure.  but in order to accurately assess, one would have to carefully consider the yardstick by which one measures the quality of their own life, which is of course a very personal concept leading some to many differing conclusions.  

how would the fabric of my life, the very meaning & purpose, be changed?  identity closely formed around the necessity of our productiveness.  homemakers who literally make their homes with their own nimble, knowing hands.  character personified in the tarnished, calloused crease of tired fingers, the patient, fearless brow.  our heart's pride woven into a basket, dripping from a beeswax candle.  the self satisfaction that me & mine made this home.  we wove it together using our own knitting needles, the hum of our own sowing machines, kneaded by our own palms.  how much more creatively satisfied would we be?  art as a way of life instead of a hobby.  beauty & imagination blossom.  originality & function flourish.  abundance of conviction & drive, integrity to the family unit.  what would that add to sense of dignity & pride?  sense of resolve & identity?

and whatever happened to the lost art of savouring?  would i enjoy my toast & honey more if that honey came from the careful, tending of my own hive?

i look at the victorian era & i realize i am subjected to all kinds of luxuries that take away from quality of life… like tv, leisurely afternoon naps, skinny vanilla lattes, facebook.  i had always thought those things increased my quality of life but at closer look, i see that i have been sucked into the complacency or habit of these daily routines. as separate once-in-a-while, special events they are wonderfully enjoyable but as they have become habitual entitlement, i have allowed them to steal my contentment when i don't get them.  i am spoiled by them.  spoiled to appreciate or be grateful or just be happy with what i have.  always on a quest for more, for special, for extraordinary & loath the ordinary, the same.  qualifying my happiness by a belief that i can't enjoy this day unless it was better than yesterday. addicted to a constant quest of self-coddling, self-indulgence.  making myself feel good, feel fulfilled by empty things.  materialism that robs, that rusts the soul.  when leisure becomes so much a part of an everyday expectation, we loose respect for it. we loose enjoyment of it. we loose the fulfillment it was intended to provide.  we loose the moments.  how many times have i bought into the lie that leisure will restore my soul?  there is only One that restores.

what does entertainment mean to me? seeing the victorian folk all gather in community to tune instruments before a lively dance or fellowship over quilted cotton looms makes me realize that most of my entertainment is a lonely activity usually incased in a dark movie theatre & drizzled with butter.  what do i live for, what do i wait & want for, look forward to & protect?  will i settle for a glass of wine & a good movie at the end of the day?  will that be enough?  is that what i live for?   my self-centred, pampered, indulgent life?

there seems to be missing a push, a drive, a simplicity, a self-dignity, a being needed-ness in our modern lives.  would discontentment, depression & disorders & syndromes be so prevalent if we could know the gift of working with our hands? when good old fashioned elbow grease is replaced by dishwashers, chainshaws, mp3 players & blogs, we loose relationship & community.  we loose who we are when we no longer know how to relate to our other.  there is a completeness that can only happen through fellowship, through relating.  when individual autonomy is valued more than community, both are robbed.  the community inspires & sharpens the individual, just as the individual defines & enriches the community.

the past. what makes us look back?  why can’t the past be the past? we excavate it, study it,  preserve it, bring it back to life, re-live or live the past again and again, history’s story.  can we enhance it? build on it instead of just forgetting it, loosing it, letting it decay in the grave? how do we withstand the currents of time or cultural assimilation? how do we progress in our pilgramage forward with losing our past progress?  without cutting our life giving roots off? 

harvest time
i believe biblical restoration is more than just nostalgia, more than just the fear of our ever corrupting society,  more than just romanticizing. it is a righteous dissatisfaction.  restoration is not preserving or freezing the old.  it is the old as new.  it is a very real conundrum. a return to the original intent & yet a calling into the future of things we have never seen before.  restoration, not like salvaging an old piece of furniture.  it is something alive & new and yet has been laid in the hearts of men before time.  it is not a dusting off doctrinal conviction.  no, that's just religious fervency.  it is the very breath of God speaking now for our time, our life.  the time has come to live life to the fullest.  the fullest of then & the fullest of now.  restoration,  not a retreating back to the days of old but boldly moving forward, confronting, creating & calling the future into now & yet never giving up on that original vision, that creative word. their floor our ceiling.  

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