Miserable People

silhouette photo of two persons riding horses

When we were relieved of our chores we could run or ride horses about the farm or timber.

“Well, how did we get so many miserable people?” the speaker said. He was commenting on the state of our society. Thoughts may be asked such as, how many miserable people do we have? How do we know we have miserable people? And what makes them miserable? Or can they become unmiserable?

This year of 2020 has been somewhat unhappy because of the COVID problems, but I’m very sure that isn’t what he was speaking to.

I believe he was starting with our unalienable rights. The ones that go along with the words, “All men are created equal and endowed by their Creator with unalienable rights: Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

Of course, life doesn’t ensure that we will be happy, neither does liberty and in reality, neither does the last of the three, the pursuit of happiness isn’t happiness itself.

I feel as if most people don’t have any idea what will give them happiness. People settle for the pursuit of a good job/income and the perfect doodads.

The doodads change from person to person. It could be the perfect house, the perfect spouse, the perfect boat…swimming pool…car…fill in the blank here. And in some instances, these things bring a certain sense of arriving at success.

And arriving at success gives a sense of happiness or accomplishment. But is that happiness, and why are people miserable?

When I was young I remember on more than one occasion sitting out under my grandparents’ boxelder tree at the end of a summer day. My grandparents lived on a small farm, a mere twenty acres. Today that would be classified as an acreage more than a farm, but it was their farm. There were eleven acres that could be farmed and the rest mostly tumbled down a fairly steep timber ground.

Grandpa planted his tillable farm ground in a rotation of corn, alfalfa, and oats. He raised a few cattle, milked the cows, and sold beef to friends and family. During those years horses were important, and horse shows were very popular in our area. So, Grandpa who had made the horse racing circuit shoeing racehorses retired from that to shoe horses for those who competed in the horse shows.

As they grew older they had a steady income from these endeavors. Even when he was eligible for Social Security he didn’t sign up for it for quite a few years. He didn’t retire from his farming and shoeing until in his seventies or pushing eighty.

Doodads to them could have been instead of chopping firewood by hand they bought two oil stoves and had them filled every month or six weeks, or paying our neighbor, Gene to come in and bale the alfalfa during the summer. Of course, we could afford to buy ice cream, and we took our clothes to the laundry mat in town, and they no longer raised a large garden…

As I said I remember sitting out under the boxelder tree which was where Grandpa used to tie the horse he was shoeing. He had a small forge for working the horseshoes in order to fit the shoe to the horse. Some days as he was shoeing one of us kids, or even my Grandma on rare occasions, would have a rag and we would stand by the horse’s head swishing the flies that landed on the animal in order to keep the horse content.

During the summers we children were expected to help with morning and evening chores, and we helped Grandma get meals and wash up dishes and any housework. When we were relieved of those chores we could run or ride horses about the farm or timber. Often in the summers after lunch was cleared away and dishes were done we had a couple of games in the afternoon of Canasta.

The point is Grandpa and Grandma were happy, my sister, cousin Coco, and I were happy…we were thankful for so many things.

I don’t know why we have so many miserable people. Perhaps it’s because they never got to sit out under a boxelder tree after a day of fruitful work. They have never sat as the stars began to come out a few at a time and listen to the whippoorwills calling from the deep timber.

Maybe it’s because they never after the supper was over and dishes put away, got to ride their horses. Around the wide paddock, we rode in a circle, laying back on our horses as they aimlessly followed the other horse and we watched as the constellations came out. We called it midnight riding. When we got tired of that amusement we hung our bridles away and went to bed.

Maybe that’s why we have so many miserable people. We didn’t have much, but as my Grandpa asked me once, ‘We sure had fun, didn’t we’? And yes, we did.

 I Timothy 6:

7  For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out.

8  And having food and raiment let us be therewith content.

9  But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition.

10  For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.

11  But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness.

12  Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses.

13  I give thee charge in the sight of God, who quickeneth all things, and before Christ Jesus, who before Pontius Pilate witnessed a good confession;

14  That thou keep this commandment without spot, unrebukeable, until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ:

15  Which in his times he shall shew, who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords;

16  Who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen, nor can see: to whom be honour and power everlasting. Amen.

17  Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy;

18  That they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate;

19  Laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.