This summer, I’m re-reading “Adventures in Contentment” by David Grayson. You probably haven’t heard of Grayson or his series of books—many haven’t. (I stumbled upon them a couple of decades ago, by accident. It was a “God thing.”)
David Grayson is a pseudonym used by Ray Stannard Baker, an aggressive, muckraking, Chicago journalist at the turn of the 20th century. Baker created Grayson, a fictional character, to tell what it could be like to leave the rat race of the city and experience life on a quiet New England farm. The books were written in a nonfiction essay style that left many readers at the time believing them as truth.
David Grayson portrays himself as a well-read man who has left the city to live on a farm. He likes to walk around visiting people and meeting strangers. He patiently observes the ways of his rural neighbors and shows respect for the humblest of citizens. In the words later attributed to Will Rogers, he never met a man he didn’t like.
The stories are a mixture of essay, philosophy, and quiet humor. They frequently cite the Bible, Shakespeare and Marcus Aurelius . . .
One reviewer wrote, “Those who read Grayson with sympathy and enlightenment are strangely conscious that here is a loyal, familiar and well-approved friend. Here is a man who has thought our thoughts for us, and who has given the soul of those thoughts their appropriate body in words.”
Although fiction, Grayson’s stories serve as a reminder to notice and appreciate the little things in life.
Are you caught up in life’s rat race and too busy to notice? Stop right now and read Luke 10:38–42.
As Jesus and the disciples continued on their way to Jerusalem, they came to a certain village where a woman named Martha welcomed him into her home. Her sister, Mary, sat at the Lord’s feet, listening to what he taught. But Martha was distracted by the big dinner she was preparing. She came to Jesus and said, “Lord, doesn’t it seem unfair to you that my sister just sits here while I do all the work? Tell her to come and help me.”
But the Lord said to her, “My dear Martha, you are worried and upset over all these details! There is only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken away from her.” (NLT)
Make time this summer to notice and appreciate all the little miracles and blessings that God is has placed around you.
“Adventures in Contentment” by David Grayson begins:
I came here eight years ago as the renter of this farm, of which soon afterward I became the owner. The time before that I like to forget. The chief impression it left, upon my memory, now happily growing indistinct, is of being hurried faster than I could well travel. From the moment, as a boy of seventeen, I first began to pay my own way, my days were ordered by an inscrutable power which drove me hourly to my task. I was rarely allowed to look up or down, but always forward, toward that vague Success which we Americans love to glorify.
My senses, my nerves, even my muscles were continually strained to the utmost of attainment. If I loitered or paused by the wayside, as it seems natural for me to do, I soon heard the sharp crack of the lash. For many years, and I can say it truthfully, I never rested. I neither thought nor reflected. I had no pleasure, even though I pursued it fiercely during the brief respite of vacations. Through many feverish years I did not work: I merely produced.
The only real thing I did was to hurry as though every moment were my last, as though the world, which now seems so rich in everything, held only one prize which might be seized upon before I arrived. Since then I have tried to recall, like one who struggles to restore the visions of a fever, what it was that I ran to attain, or why I should have borne without rebellion such indignities to soul and body. That life seems now, of all illusions, the most distant and unreal. It is like the unguessed eternity before we are born: not of concern compared with that eternity upon which we are now embarked . . .
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