When I was a young girl growing up on a small farm in Idaho, finances were tight. My parents had four children in four years and then one every other year until all nine children were born. I am the third of nine. As I think back on those years, I didn't know then how the struggles at such a young age were actually strengthening me and preparing me to appreciate the small things in life.
Saturday my sons Nathan, Grant and I watched the movie “Karate Kid.” As I was watching it with them, I started to think of the great principle taught. In the movie a young boy named Daniel wanted to learn karate. He asked an old man named Mr. Miyagi to teach him. Mr. Miyagi tells Daniel if he is going to train him, he needs to do whatever he tells him, no questions asked. First Mr. Miyagi has Daniel wash and wax a whole line of cars, all in a particularly unnatural motion using both hands. Wax on right hand, wax off, left hand.
Then he is told to sand a large walkway, paint a huge fence, and finally paint an entire house. Each new task given, Daniel was told to do the chores in an unusual way. Finally, when he was almost done with the house, Daniel gets angry. He thinks he is being taken advantage of as slave labor. Mr. Miyagi then proceeds to show Daniel all his hard work has actually strengthened him and trained him. He instinctively is able to do karate because his muscles have been taught the correct movements.
I think growing up with very little has done the same for me. I was taught, through lots of hard times, how to become stronger. Even though I am stronger, I have still never forgotten what it felt like to want. As a very young child, we rarely used the heat in our rented farm house because it cost too much money. We would cut down old trees in the woods or on the farm, haul the wood back to the house, stack it, chop it and heat the house with a wood burning stove. Just getting the house warm was a lot of work.
I remember on very rare occasions my mom would turn on the heat in the morning, just until a fire could be built. We had one floor heat vent in the house. To me, there was nothing better in the entire universe than standing on that heat vent in my night gown and letting the heat cover my entire body. My nightgown would balloon out and dance around and the joy from this was immeasurable. There was only one problem, I also had two other sisters and two brothers who wanted a turn on the same heat vent and the heat would only be on for about 10 minutes, so we would each get about 30 seconds and then it would be time to rotate.
This is the house I grew up in. It has been renovated, updated and moved onto a new foundation, but it still brings back many memories.
I can remember thinking, when I grow up I want a house with lots of floor heat vents, and I want to sit on the heater until the inside of my soul is warmed up. To me, that would be an example of pure joy. Now, all these years later, I still remember the wish of my young childish desire. I do have a house with a lot of floor heat vents, and I still do not take for granted the absolute joy of sitting on them on a cold brisk morning. Throwing a blanket over me to help direct the heat now takes the place of the nightgown, but the joy is still the same. I don’t think there will ever come a time in my life that I will not appreciate simple basic things and heat in my house on a cold winters’ day is at the top of my list.
Who’s with me? Is there anything in the world better than a blanket and a floor heat vent?
The weather outside is cold.
This picture was taken today out my back window. BURR!