Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Of Valentine's Day and Compassion Toward the Unlovely

Happy Valentine's Day to you, my Readers!

Woo hoo! Ring the bells and sing a song and smile and know that you are loved by God, your family, your friends and me, too.

Celebrate love all day long today, ok? Let this simple day in February be the start of looking at things a whole new way. You won't be sorry.

(I absolutely loved your Valentine ideas in my last comment box! Thanks so much for sharing those with us. Really.)

Oh! And I almost forgot to share this delightful blog post with you. My buddy, Elizabeth, shared photos from the Valentine Tea Party she held for her grandkids and friends... you will love the sweet photos!

And good gracious, one more thing--Susan Branch has a cute bookmark for us. I printed two out on cardstock--fun!


So! I've been hanging-out at a new place lately. Where? PioneerGirl.com.

And my oh my, this is one Little House groupie who's having a grand ol' time peeking at the behind-the-scenes stuff about the Ingalls and Wilder families. That website has something for all of us Laura Heads. :)

Like yesterday... I began rereading These Happy Golden Years and I got to thinking about that awful, awful woman, Mrs. Brewster, who Laura stayed with during her first weeks as a teacher. All these years I'd pictured Mrs. Brewster looking like Mr. Rochester's (from Jane Eyre) insane, long, dark-haired, hide-her-in-the-attic-lest-she-kill-you wife. And each time I've read These Happy Golden Years, I've dismissed that terrible Mrs. Brewster as a totally unreasonable woman who was cruel to Laura (and everybody else) without a cause.


All these years I've judged her without even considering her own back story, her behind-the-scenes life. You know, the way each of us has behind-the-scenes stuff from our Past which at least partially explains why we behave as we do. 

Well, I discovered a message board about the real-life Mrs. Brewster, (Olive Bouchie) and I read down that message board and was convicted! Women there reported what they'd read other articles about Mrs. Bouchie and oh wow, take a look at this list:

She may have been recently widowed--perhaps divorced-- because her son, John, was from another marriage and he was 3 years old when Laura came to teach.

When Laura arrived, Mrs. Bouchie had given birth to another boy only three months earlier. So she actually had a toddler and a tiny baby and who knows? She could have had postpartum depression--and that, alone, could explain lots of things.

But there was even more-- Mrs. Brewster had only recently moved to this middle-of-nowhere place, this field in unsettled South Dakota,  having come from Iowa. So she probably left family and friends behind, not to mention a more civilized town all for what? A lonely place with only a smattering of families-- in-laws, mainly (oh dear).

Plus, the Bouchies had only been married one year, exactly, so they were still relatively newlyweds (speaks for itself, as well).

 And all four in the family lived in a crude, dark, two-room drafty log cabin with only a blanket separating the two rooms, which meant basically no privacy for this poor woman, especially during the winter when her husband and boys would be inside the house constantly.

Then throw into the mix a young, pretty, free-and-single woman (Laura) who comes to stay with the family for weeks in an already-too-crowded dump of a place.

Oh wow. Move over Mrs. Bouchie--I'd have probably been walking around at night, swinging a knife, too.

My, my, my. How many times do I have to be reminded of this lesson? To relearn that all people have behind-the-scenes stuff which I cannot see and which would explain a lot if only I'd take the time to discover it. Or at the very least, to never judge or assume or write-off anyone as just being a scary, hopeless, creepy freak of nature. You know, like all those violent people we see on CNN or in the newspaper.

Oh to be more compassionate and willing to take the time to understand others, where they came from, and how I can help them find a better place while on the way to where they're going....


To read about the people in Laura's life and books, click on the People button there at PioneerGirl.com.

To read even more about the Bouchies and how it's now pretty much agreed that Laura began teaching at nearly 17, not 16, click on the Other button, then click on Schoolhouse (it's a very long article, keep clicking Next at the bottom.)

There is sooo much at that website--you could easily spend a week there. Trust me, I know. :)

Want to visit Laura's little houses online? Go here. (If this link doesn't take you to the house links, click on Laura's Homes on the lefthand side.) The videos of the houses are great except that some go a little heavy on filming tiny Emily (who, yes, is adorable) and too light on filming the actual houses (or replicas), themselves. I'm thinking there was a mom or a grandma involved with the filming......heh.....



 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.  By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”  ... John 13:34,35


1 comment:

Elizabeth said...

Happy Valentine Day to you Debra!
Loved my valentine in the mail!