A few days ago, I stumbled across some old Victoria magazines dating from the late ‘eighties and early ‘ninties. As I paused a moment to wander among the pretty pictures, filled with beautiful landscapes, expensive houses, and handsome women modeling frilly blouses and elegantly tailored suits, I was struck by how much Western culture–and my own attitude–has shifted in my lifetime. I remembered how, a number of years ago, just such unrealistic images constituted a great deal of my desires in life. I bided my time, studied hard, played hard, and dreamed that life might, after all, be as wonderful as such glimpses seemed to say it could be. (After all, the things that money could buy were generally much more attractive when I was little than they are now :-) ) Flowery speech, pretty baubles, fancy furnishings, and all things old-fashioned intrigued me to no end. I wanted to grow up and escape from the ugly world I knew was out there into a beautiful life where I wouldn’t have to look at the lostness of my generation. Additionally, I was filled with hope for the future of the homeschoolers across the country, making postmillenialism an easy thing in my young mind when our family’s theology shifted to from dispensational to Reformed (including partial preterism).
Now, these girlish dreams are mostly gone. What happened was that I learned about history and truth, ideas and consequences, what real graciousness and refinement consist of (and that it has nothing to do with possessions), and the realization that, apparently, a great part of the rising generation of homeschoolers I once viewed myself as part of have fallen down or simply failed to continue climbing higher. I don’t know that I have ever been afraid of hard work (though, of course, I sometimes lazily wish to avoid it), so I have had moments of frustration by the seeming ineptness and unpreparedness of many of my peers in pursuing the dominion mandate.
Anyways, though the lovely photography and beautiful objects of these old issues of Victoria still delight my eyes and nourish my creativity, I approach them carefully; for I see hardness even in the softness. There is spiritual coldness, sensuality, self-esteem, sentimentalism (which doesn’t necessarily portray history accurately…), naturalism, Romanticism, and, in general, a spirit of worldliness that breeds a discontent with the imperfections of life. Having seen these things quite by accident in these pretty magazines, I flipped through them again the other day with something akin to chagrin that I was once so foolish to accept this worldly standard of beauty.
Such were some of my wanderings a few days ago. Since then, much has happened (such is our life here…one thing, then another…and–oh yes!–there is that other thing, too…. I will never complain that life is boring! :-) ) I forget where this little thought train of “Victoria and I” was headed (I’m not very good with directions–and I lost the map), but it did not occur to me that my sister fracturing her wrist bones was going to be the conclusion of that day….