I follow a blog called Woolly Moss Roots, and the gal that writes it lives in Oregon with her hubby and young son. A few weeks ago, I was reading one of her posts where she described this lady who lives nearby, in Deadwood, in a blue schoolhouse, and how she and her son went over to visit this elderly lady. The lady’s name is Mary Lou Goertzen, and in the famous words of the nanny in the Harriet The Spy movie, “some people deserve a closer look.” Mary Lou Goertzen certainly deserves a closer look! She is the warmest, gentlest, and most interesting person I have read about in quite a while.
My interest was immediately peaked when Taryn from Woolly Moss Roots said that Mary Lou invited her to sing with her. How cool is that? I don’t think I’ve ever had anybody invite me to sing with them.
Taryn had a link up at the end of her post. The link takes you to a documentary on Vimeo about Mary Lou and her late husband Ernie. I have included the video at the end of my post here.
The way these kind and gentle people tell their life story in the background while the camera playfully meanders through their blue schoolhouse and also shows portions of their quiet daily life is nothing short of amazing. The documentary captures the story of how these folks grew up in their small Mennonite community, went away to school, met and married, and then travelled out west with their three kids to settle in Berkeley, California during the 60s when the Vietnam War was in full swing.
The Goertzens are pacifists, which I never knew much about till I watched this documentary. They certainly don’t ram any of their beliefs down your throat. They simply tell their life story…quietly, almost shyly, and you find your imagination skipping right along with every soft sentence they speak.
Several times during the film, Mary Lou uses the term “heart connection” when referring to how she met certain people, or when they packed up to move somewhere else and met new people along the way. Those words really spoke to me. She always insists on meeting people face to face, and her door is always open to anyone.
When her husband Ernie spoke of the terrible car accident they were in, and how that event helped them to resign from their jobs and start a new life out west to concentrate on their art, I felt a little ping in my stomach. They were basically saying “do what you love while you’re here on earth, and never settle for anything less.”
This Heart Message therefore gets me thinking, once again, about my own life. I took a leave of absence from an office job where I have spent the last ten years and had worked my way up to manager. Because I don’t want to leave my long-term clients hanging, I will be returning in the new year. But now I wonder, is this going to be the best use of my time? It will become a seasonal job if I decide to stay on, so it’s not like I’ll be there full-time for another ten years.
However, part of the reason for the leave of absence was the fact that the job was actually sucking the life out of me, and I stayed on for the money long after the fun was gone.
When I heard Mary Lou and Ernie talking, they made it clear that money is a tool to them, to pay the utilities and buy food. They boiled the topic of money down into a very basic and simple topic without preaching about materialism or greed. They didn’t need to; just by watching them and listening to them, you already know they are not standing on a soap box ranting about materialism or greed.
Even though I have already begun simplifying my own life (by taking the leave of absence, getting rid of the expensive leased cars, and learning to farm full-time right here at home) I still feel that a little bit of something is misfiring, or not sitting quite right. I will need to spend some more time in the garden to try and figure this missing piece out…and I will also stay grateful for being able to watch and hear the Heart Message spoken by Mary Lou and Ernie.
Thank you both.