Friday, April 23, 2010

Thoughts while reading.

Last night I finished reading The Kitchen House by Kathleen Grissom. Set during the 1790s-1810s, the story centers around Lavinia, an orphaned girl from Ireland. Her parents died on the trip to America and to pay for their passage Lavinia became an indentured servant at the captain's home in Virginia.

I'm really not here to give you a book review (although I will encourage you to read the book; it was quite good!), but to point out something that went through my head as I read.
Lavinia remembered little about herself at the time she took up residence in the kitchen house. She was just seven. She was housed with the slaves of the family and grew up as a servant/slave, but also white. As she'd come over from Ireland, she didn't fully grasp the concept of position and suitable relationships and she was often confused. But, she was very accepting and often didn't ask questions that might have propelled her forward out of some poor decisions.

I started pondering how when I'm uncertain of protocol or I hear others talk about something I don't quite get or I read a word I've never heard before, that I will go to the internet and I'll Google my question or I'll turn to a dictionary for a definition. When it comes to seeking information, I am largely self-sufficient as there is a whole world of stuff at my fingertips. That's not to say I don't talk to others about it as well, but I don't often have to to get answers. However, back in the days where the computer didn't exist and many people were illiterate (plus books weren't widely available), people had to depend on each other to learn. So much more was taught and passed on from one person to the next.

Now, I love the computer as much as the next person. Truly, I like being able to find answers myself; however, I wonder how much are we missing relationally by being so self-sufficient? I think an intimacy and vulnerability in relationships (friendship or otherwise) has been lost.
What do you think?


Lana Joy said...

I totally agree with your sentiments here. It's almost as if we don't have to foster relationships because we don't need them as much (or we think we don't). And yet, a whole world of connectivity, where we learn to be empathetic and share in others' joys and sorrows is lost. We see those emotions displayed through stories in various forms, but how many of us are experiencing them and developing those traits in ourselves. We are so fortunate in our large, fairly close family, to have the opportunity to learn from our grandparents, aunts and uncles. And I'm sure that I don't utilize those resources nearly enough. Thanks for your thoughts. I'll be contemplating this for quite some time hereafter.

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