Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Remember When . . . It Was a Matter of Fact?

First, I want to thank everyone for sharing my excitement and offering your congrats and encouragement on my Big News. Being able to talk about it at last makes it so new and real, LOL.

I was tempted to talk about the Christian Product Expo I just attended in Lancaster, but since that's not historical, ha ha, I figured I'd better spare you all those details that probably wouldn't interest everyone. ;-) So instead, I thought I'd share some of the things that have struck me in the memoir I've been reading for research.

Last week I downloaded a dozen free books on the Civil War, most of them original texts from the era. The one I opened first was A Confederate Girl's Diary by Sarah Morgan Dawson. Sarah was a young lady in Baton Rouge during the war, and getting her view of events has been so interesting. It isn't just the events through her eyes that get me--it's her outlook on the whole state of affairs.

What strikes me most is her casual acceptance of looming death. One of the parts I just read says something along the lines of "I assured Mother that Charlie could protect me. And of course, should he be killed, I'm perfectly capable of protecting myself."

As they're evacuating the city during a brief shelling, they go by a camp of guerilla soldiers, and she and her sister call out something like, "Die protecting us!" Even when it's her own brother's and father's lives on the line--or extinguished--it's told in her diary with grief but no despair. But rather with a calm acceptance of whatever life might give.

And yet there's also the kind of scattered delight that reminded me of a character in an Austen novel. When Sarah is telling about the above-mentioned escape from the city, she gets only a block away before her shoes become so uncomfortable that she decides to turn back and get different ones. And of course, once back in the house, she thinks she had better grab some spare clothes. And of course, then she must gather some ribbons . . . and a comb . . . and her letters--but which ones?

The picture she paints of herself, comically oblivious to the shells whizzing overhead when it's about something as critical as finding her favorite belongings, is that of someone who has adjusted in ways she never imagined to a world gone quite mad.

And that, in my opinion, is one of the most amazing traits of humanity--our ability to adapt. No matter the era, no matter the circumstances, as a whole we will change as our circumstances dictated.

Much like this Confederate girl who mourned the loss of the Sarah of old . . . but didn't let it render her speechless.


  1. I'm not sure if this idea of being so matter of fact is sad or a wonderful display of perseverance.

    I know when I am in a hard situation (like 2 months of screaming baby in pain or life-threatening situations with the kids), it was important for me to not focus on the negativity of the situation...but more of the "It is what it is" mentality...and knowing that God would be with me through it all.

  2. Our adaptability is astounding - and this was a fabulous example. Enjoy that read!

  3. I remember reading Sarah's diary a few years ago. Really enjoyed it! :-) Great post!