Thursday, January 30, 2014

THE SIMPLE LIFE; J. M. L.; Ohio; April 1931

Dear Editor:

When I think of leisure I think of two classes of people, those who become so absorbed in their work that they forget leisure, and those who become so absorbed in their leisure that they forget work.

In the first case, I have in mind the nervous, fretful, eternally-driven people who refuse to take time off to gain control of themselves by thinking their way through. And in the second case I have in mind the selfish people who must have their rest, must have their recreation, in fact must consider themselves first.

Then I remember a certain Nazarene who gave Himself wholly in service, yet often went alone to the mountains to think through life's problems. I believe that the safe-and-sane course even for the self-sacrificing farm mother is to take time "to have a minute to herself."

Then I am face about to the question, What is leisure? It is one thing for one person and another for another. It may mean just a simple half-hour rest a day. It may mean a certain time each day to give wholly to the children, or to get out-of-doors, or to attend a social gathering, or to read The Farmer's Wife. It may mean many different things but whatever it means to each individual, I'm sure it will mean one thing to all--better wives, mothers and homemakers.

I realize what an almost impossible thing leisure is to some homemakers. Sickness, little children, financial responsibility, all are robbers of leisure. And it is not an easy task for some women to so manage their work that leisure will result, and yet have a clean, well-ordered home and family. There are many homes where lack of equipment, lack of strength, or sheer inability to group, make the matter of leisure a real problem. Then the housewife must weigh values.

Certain standards of living have made us believe that many things are necessities. We can hardly bring ourselves to the point of taking them off the schedule. But for the sake of the balance, poise, and efficiency, that leisure brings, life should be made simple.