“What Cannot Be Cured Must Be Endured” By Maureen Eich VanWalleghan
“What cannot be cured must be endured,” so says Laura Ingalls Wilder in the Little House On Rocky Ridge series. Of course it is an English proverb and well known to an older generation. It is a helpful thought for me at this moment.
My husband is working up in North Dakota, and I am in the single parent mode. I am tired. I am sad. It is easy to fall into the trap of feeling sorry for myself. Life is hard. Waa, waa, waa…
When my very kind cleaning woman came today—I know, how hard could life be if I have a cleaning woman who comes in once a month—anyway, she told me that she had been in a car accident. Everyone was unhurt, she and her two children, but her car was totaled. And there I was struck, quite metaphorically by the fact that life is hard. LIFE IS HARD. Everyone’s life is hard in unique and individual ways. Laura Ingalls Wilder knew this and in the context of survival on a farm the line “what cannot be cured must be endured,” made sense. It still makes sense.
What’s interesting for me—as a reader with my daughter of the Little House On the Prairie series—is how hard life was and the realization that folks survived. I never read the Little Houses books as a kid. I thought they were boring. I watched the tv series and wanted to be Laura Ingalls or Melissa Gilbert’s version of her. When my daughter wanted me to read her the books I went along. Reading the Little House on the Prairie series—and now the Little House on Rocky Ridge series—as a mother, is quite intense. The physical task of creating a home, being at the mercy of weather, losing and raising children and at times doing ALL OF IT ALONE was compelling and humbling.
Life looks different in the details, but isn’t the task of living really just the same? Sometimes one does it with a partner, sometimes not. My “modern” existence tells me that the physical task of creating a home is easier now; that I am not at the mercy of weather to such an extreme; and raising children is less strenuous. So is life hard? It depends on one’s life experience at any given moment.
What I keep wondering is when did humans begin to buy into this notion that life is easy? Has the evolution of modern conveniences and the ongoing marketing to move those items created a myth that life should be easy? Life looks hard from many different perspectives. So is it hard because I believe it to be so? Not sure. I could wax philosophical at this point, but I think it’s better to relax into the line “what cannot be cured must be endured,” which could be closely linked to the Zen proverb “before enlightenment chop wood, carry water, after enlightenment chop wood, carry water.”
Maybe it’s just all living, no hard, no easy…just living.