Meet my great-grandmother.
I’m told I have her chin.
There are many things to love about this picture—the long dress, the apron (!), the hat that looks like something Charlie Chaplin might have sat upon, the natural grass untouched by any lawn mower, and the corner of a barn that was probably raised on a good old-fashioned barn-raising day.
And, of course, the tree stump she’s wrestling into submission.
The thing I love the most is that she doesn’t look unhappy. There might even be the hint of a smile.
The woman is digging tree stumps in a long skirts and she doesn’t seem to mind.
In some ways her challenges were greater than mine. She probably sewed that dress that she had no choice but to wear. She had to clear the land where they grew the food they ate, she had to bake from scratch every single cookie and loaf of bread she consumed, and she had to can her green beans and tomatoes. She was driven to do those things because otherwise her family would go hungry. She worked hard—physically—from dawn to dusk.
In other ways her life was simple. She had food, faith and family. She never had to suffer the irritation of four-way stops, she never had to receive emails from hackers trying to scam her, and she never had anyone in the next cubicle eating curry for lunch.
The modern “tree stumps” I have to wrestle into submission are quite different, and I don’t have to do it while wearing a long dress. (Although I can if I choose.) My tree stumps challenge my mind, my emotions and my spiritual equilibrium more than my body, but they still challenge me from dawn to dusk.
But, from what I hear, I inherited another thing from my great-grandmother—the calm joy of moment.
No matter what’s happening—no matter what—there’s joy to be found, even if it’s the flip-side of sorrow.