“There is, among men, a universal longing to go back to the earth from whence they came. Man will never forget his native place in Paradise lost, nor will he ever cease to yearn for a life of perfect contentment. The hope that occupies every heart is the secret dream of a Shangri-La discovered where there is an escape from the pressures of this present society. Each of us, in this insane world in which we live, knows something of the restlessness and the dissatisfaction that create a relentless obsession to escape the treadmill of existence that this society has forced upon us – an existence that has crushed us with pressures and demands that far exceed our resources; a life that often shatters our peace and leaves us like trapped animals, pacing the cage of our circumstances, plotting how to break the iron bands of involvement. We have all known the frustrations of our self-imposed timetables and commitments that cause us to feel like wheat in the grist mill of an evil system; a system that crushes our hopes, dreams, desires and blows away, like chaff, the highest aspirations of our souls.
As has been said before: ‘I write with no higher hopes than motivate the rooster at daybreak -I do not expect to be appreciated or even tolerated, but I hope to awaken some to a new day.’ And so, to those who are homesick and do not realize that the “home” for which they are longing is not a geographical location, but a way of life, I sincerely dedicate this small effort. Especially do I dedicate this book to those whose homesickness will never be cured on this earth. May we all know the truth and by the knowledge of that truth be set free.”
The above excerpt is credited to H.L Roush in the dedication to his book entitled Henry and the Great Society.
Before ever laying eyes on this book, I felt intensely this longing for a simpler life. I wouldn’t have ever been able to explain so eloquently what my heart desired, but I knew I and my family were seemingly running all the time, expending lots of energy, doing lots of things and growing increasingly lonely as individuals and separated as a family.
About 12 years ago, after much wrestling with emotions and each other, we finally gave up our big screen t.v. so that we could spend more time in conversation or reading. Next, we decided to move to Virginia to pursue a simpler life. Thirdly we purchased land far away from a city and rather remotely so we could be closer to nature and thereby more in tune with God through His creation.
We did this all before we ever came across this book.
And now, here in Virginia, on our remote piece of land across our rickety swinging bridge, I find myself re-reading this book. The world’s frenetic pace, technological advances, more time-saving devices and lots of “stuff” have increasingly crept back into our lives and again threaten to tear asunder the simpler, God centered life we moved here to create.
I am currently about half way through and still I find myself wanting to shout it from the roof tops that this should be required reading for everyone, though I do wonder if anything has changed in me since the first reading that I might now disagree with. I don’t want to ruin the story for anyone, so without delving into many details, be forewarned that there are some things I remember the author sharing in the last few chapters that I did not agree with Scripturally my first reading, but the overall message of the book reverberates things I have felt much of my life.
It is one of five books I have read in my life that has inspired me to change radically. I hope and pray that you will take the time to read it. It isn’t long in pages, but is is long on wisdom. May it bless you and motivate you to seek the truly good life which is found in chasing the only treasure worth chasing.