Life Among Stoics
Congregants at Holden Lutheran, Beardsley MN 1936
I'm reading The Land of the Living: The Danish Folk High Schools and Denmark's Non-Violent Path to Modernization. I stole this book from a very good man and frankly at this point have no intentions to return it (sorry John!). Mostly because I envision a rural landscape full of these remarkable folk schools and figure we'll need an instruction manual.
I read with interest the chapter on why Scandanavians are melancholy, or as I would describe it -- stoic. The author muses "an obvious direction in which to look... is the dark and cold northern climate." But then he decides these Danes actually take pride in living with extreme cold and short summers and delight in the changing of the seasons. Instead he decides that:
Whatever the reason, I find myself living among (one could even venture to say "with") stoics.
I know a man who served in World War II, married, raised a number of fine and productive children, farmed and worked very hard past the point he was able. He lived a solid life, stern and upright, he frowned on tapping ones toe to the hymns in church because it was too close to dancing.
And then he was stricken with Alzheimers and lost control. He now gushes over his wife of nearly 65 years, enchanted by her, unable to to stop telling her how much he loves her, holding her close. All those years of holding himself so close only to burst with love and delight as the twilight hastens.