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Vieraskieliset / In-english

Blog: Romantic journey in wilderness

Vieraskieliset / In-english
17.2.2022 6.00

Juttua muokattu:

19.1. 11:46

Text: Jou­ni Le­so­nen

Trans­la­ti­on: Sirk­ka-Lii­sa Lei­no­nen

Whe­ne­ver I think about a jour­ney in wil­der­ness, I im­me­di­a­te­ly re­mem­ber the 40 ye­ars that the pe­op­le of Is­ra­el spent tra­ve­ling from Egypt to what is now Is­ra­el. It was an ar­duo­us and dan­ge­rous jour­ney ac­ross a dry and hot de­sert. The story of that jour­ney inc­lu­des desc­rip­ti­ons of ar­gu­ments, comp­laints, re­bel­li­on and des­pair. But there were al­so good mo­ments. Skil­l­ful ar­tists have even rep­re­sen­ted that jour­ney as a ro­man­tic ex­pe­di­ti­on.

The life of a Chris­ti­an is of­ten com­pa­red to the Is­ra­e­li­tes’ jour­ney in the wil­der­ness. Does the jour­ney that took place ne­ar­ly 4000 ye­ars ago have so­met­hing in com­mon with our time? What things are si­mi­lar in their jour­ney and ours, and how si­mi­lar are those jour­neys? The jour­ney of the pe­op­le of Is­ra­el can be vie­wed in terms of spi­ri­tu­al ima­ge­ry. Yet it is part of his­to­ri­cal re­a­li­ty. The desc­rip­ti­ons of hun­ger, thirst and des­pair ref­lect the bru­tal re­a­li­ty of that jour­ney.

What is it like to tra­vel for 40 ye­ars? It might be ea­sier to ima­gi­ne that if we think back over the last 40 ye­ars of our li­ves. Now that my ol­dest child­ren have re­ac­hed that age, it is good to re­mi­nis­ce about the events of the past de­ca­des.

I re­mem­ber well the birth of our ol­dest child on a cold Ja­nu­a­ry mor­ning. Our se­cond child was born on a hot day in Au­gust and the yo­un­gest on my wife’s birth­day more than 20 ye­ars ago. I re­mem­ber so­met­hing about the birth of each of my ele­ven child­ren, at le­ast what the we­at­her was like.

I then go back even dee­per in­to my me­mo­ries. We have all seen pic­tu­res and read desc­rip­ti­ons of ru­ral life in the post-war pe­ri­od. There are many ro­man­tic pic­tu­res of small grey or red-pain­ted hou­ses sur­roun­ded by well-kept fields yi­el­ding abun­dant crops. There are al­so pic­tu­res of clean white snow, pil­lars of smoke ri­sing from chim­neys straight to the clear blue sky, cheer­ful red-chee­ked child­ren pla­ying in the yard, and a small path from the hou­se to the barn. There is a dim light in the win­dow of a dark hou­se.

These ro­man­tic ima­ges are pro­ducts of se­lec­ti­ve me­mo­ry. It is said that a good pic­tu­re says more than a thou­sand words. But a pic­tu­re can al­so lie more than a thou­sand words. The re­a­li­ty be­hind a be­au­ti­ful pic­tu­re can be qui­te harsh.

I was born in nort­hern Savo in­to the kind of ro­man­tic ru­ral idyll desc­ri­bed abo­ve. The small patc­hes of field re­qui­red hard work and on­ly yi­el­ded me­a­ger crops, if even that. There were days in Au­gust when the nort­her­ly wind cal­med down and the tem­pe­ra­tu­re drop­ped be­low zero, free­zing the un­ri­pe grain. The light of the sun­ny mor­ning that fol­lo­wed spark­led on the fros­ty ears of rye and bar­ley. Those crops were not even fit for ani­mal fod­der, but were plo­wed down in­to the ground. On those mor­nings my pa­rents pro­bab­ly saw no sil­ver li­ning in the clouds, on­ly their pitch-black core.

The small grey hou­ses were cold on win­ter mor­nings. All work in the hou­se and the barn was done in the light of oil lamps. The barn was small, cool and hu­mid. Mil­king the cows in the wa­ve­ring light of an oil lamp, sit­ting on a small, won­ky stool brings no ro­man­tic me­mo­ries to my mind. It was hard work. The poor­ly in­su­la­ted hou­ses had to be he­a­ted of­ten. On a calm and cold day, the smoke re­al­ly went up as a straight pil­lar.

I have been thin­king about that jour­ney of ours in wil­der­ness. Alt­hough we were poor and lac­ked many things, there was al­wa­ys enough to eat. Our diet was not as well-ba­lan­ced as no­wa­da­ys, but we ne­ver went hung­ry. The po­ver­ty was kept sec­ret from the child­ren. On­ly de­ca­des la­ter did I un­ders­tand the ex­tent of the wor­ries my pa­rents must have had.

The stan­dard of li­ving has been ste­a­di­ly ri­sing du­ring my li­fe­ti­me. My wife and I got mar­ried in 1978. The chan­ge that took place bet­ween my child­hood and my mar­ri­a­ge had been re­mar­kab­le in both ru­ral and ur­ban are­as.

Most yo­ung pe­op­le who are get­ting mar­ried now will start their mar­ried life in a bet­ter eco­no­mic si­tu­a­ti­on than we did. They will not ex­pe­rien­ce a jour­ney in the wil­der­ness of tem­po­ral po­ver­ty and hard la­bor any more. Many of the pe­op­le who used to live a hard life have died or mo­ved to town by now. We re­cei­ve good care. We live in a wel­fa­re state.

Do you re­mem­ber how the story of the Is­ra­e­li­tes’ jour­ney in the wil­der­ness ends? It ends be­au­ti­ful­ly, do­esn’t it? ”The Lord our God car­ried you, as a fat­her car­ries his son, all the way you went un­til you re­ac­hed this place. In spite of this, you did not trust in the Lord yo­ur God, who went ahe­ad of you on yo­ur jour­ney, in fire by night and in a cloud by day, to se­arch out pla­ces for you to camp and to show you the way you should go.” (Deut. 1:31–33.)


Hyvä on sen osa, joka luottaa Herraan, ei etsi apua pahan voimilta eikä käänny niiden puoleen, jotka valhetta palvelevat. Ps. 40:5

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