To be honest, I don’t really have an exuberant relationship with music. I’m more of a sit in silence/quiet time kind of person. For that reason, I’m going to use a favourite quote for this weeks assignment instead of a song.
Roosters give milk here, bears lay eggs. The lion could lie down with the lamb. A frozen groundswell just beyond our senses heaves and buckles, daring the world to dismantle these walls of enmity and use the stones to build ovens for baking bread.
– Barbara Kingsolver, Small Wonder
Reading Small Wonder was a, what can only be described as an epiphany. An epiphany in the sense that it begged for the dismantling of our traditional way of thought, to make way for a new, better way of living. I was first given this book by my wonderful Grandmother. She devours books by the dozen, literally. I always accept recommendations from her and really no one else, because she has such good taste in all things, fiction, non, poetry, you name it! It chronicles Kingsolver’s life in a rural farm with her small family. She takes you through her journey of trying to live a more holistic life, also recounting what keeps her up at night. A collection of essays, Kingsolver claims her stake in issues from environmentalism to social justice.
Maybe life doesn’t get any better than this, or any worse, and what we get is just what we’re willing to find: small wonders, where they grow.
She not only encourages, but begs, for the reader to understand that to truly enjoy life, and to not get lambasted by the world essentially falling apart, you have to enjoy the ‘Small Wonders’ where they lie and revel in the idea that happiness (actually, contentment) is found in small moments of peace and tranquility. Her books are always an absolute joy to read, but this was was of particular importance. Do you know those moments where the wind gets knocked out of you because you’ve seen or read something so profound? That’s what I experienced after closing the last page on this book. Saddened that it eventually had to end, Kingsolver’s collection of stories changed me for the better. Heres why.
She recognized that it’s a loud, noisy and sometimes confusing world. She told me with her whole heart, that we’ve gotten to a place where we aren’t close, we don’t appreciate family like we used to and we’ve generally gotten distant from each other. (At least that’s my interpretation). Kingsolver was sure to teach me that in order to cultivate a sound mind and a good life, you sometimes have to take a step back and relish in the joyous moments. A chicken laying an egg for the first time, a woman holding a small child’s hand. These are the moments, that we are reminded that even though it’s loud, sometimes deceitful and sometimes hard, it is truly – a beautiful world. Find it. It’s necessary. Someone once said that even though the world is full of trickery, it is still a beautiful world and that we should strive for happiness. But I think – we should strive for contentment over happiness. We won’t always be perfectly happy 100% of the time. And thats OK. It’s within a balanced life that we find the ability to be content, and that will ultimately lead to an overarching happiness.
So I guess what I’m trying to say, and without stopping to think about it, is that firstly, this collection is a must read, in it’s entirety. If you’re looking for a book that you can always return to when in need of balance, this is the book for you. Secondly, it’s easy to get lost. There are many problems, many people and many reasons to drown. Remember, though happiness is most likely elusive, contentment is reachable – strive to be in that place. And when it gets hard, which it will, remember those moments of peace. Those pure honest moments. They’ll bring you back to reality when you’re crashing in space.