Possumhaw: Living quietly in the Prairie

October 7, 2013 10:34:57 AM

Shannon Bardwell - [email protected]


"The sole cause of man's unhappiness is that he does not know how to stay quietly in his room." Blaise Pascal 


The email read, "We have temporarily limited what you can do." There are days that I wish someone would limit what I can do and there are days that I think someone already has. 


My peers talk about how we are slowing down and quieting our days. Danny Brown said that he used to change the oil in his car before school started and nowadays it takes all morning. Slowing down may not be a bad thing. Momma always said, "Haste makes waste." 


At the Fred's store I picked up the magazine, "life:beautiful." The article read, "The Too-Busy Life." Then a quote, "I don't remember the last time we had a quiet evening at home together as a family..." 


A simple, quiet life attracts me. I've read Richard Foster's "Freedom of Simplicity, Finding Harmony in a Complex World," a half-a-dozen times. The book is worn, wrinkled, and underlined. It says, "Still another step toward simplicity is to refuse to live beyond our means emotionally. In a culture where whirl is king, we must understand our emotional limits. Ulcers, migraines, nervous tension, and a dozen other symptoms mark our psychic overload. We are concerned not to live beyond our means financially; why do it emotionally?"  


At the little Prairie chapel the resignation letter was read aloud. Hope, the song leader, is a wife, a mother, a daughter, a friend, a teacher, and more. Her letter read, "My children are now teenagers and I must find some time to stay home with them. They will be gone soon." 


You have to admire a woman like that. It's not easy to make that decision in a world of whirl. I've made such decisions and they were difficult. I left an organization that I loved with people that I enjoyed for a cause that I support but the time requirement had exceeded my bounds. The day I resigned Sam was waiting for me at the deer stand. Waiting, waiting, always waiting... 


Sam will not always be here, nor will I. Time will come when we are not so nimble and viewing will be done from a window or a bed with rails. The quote, "I don't remember the last time..." resonated. I want to remember the last time. 


Is it possible to live quietly? How? Televisions are everywhere. Isn't the dentist terrifying enough without Fox News? Seriously, can you eat in a restaurant while "Naked Survivor" shows on the flat screen or when the cell phone beeps five times in a minute? 


My quiet step-daughter gave me Susan Cain's New York Times bestseller, "Quiet, the Power of Introverts in a World that Can't Stop Talking."  


Cain reports Rosa Parks, Chopin, Dr. Seuss, and Steve Wozniak's accomplished lives were lived quietly.  


Richard Foster suggest, "We must learn our emotional limits and respect them. Our children and spouses will love us for it." 


Shannon Rule Bardwell's column is a regular feature of Monday's Dispatch. Her e-mail address is [email protected]

Shannon Rule Bardwell is a Southern writer living quietly in the Prairie.