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balance

 

Ellen Gilchrist writes in an essay, “The Middle Way”—”The years I spent raising my sons are as important to my happiness as the books I have written. If some of that time was frustrating, if occasionally I wondered whether I was wasting my talents, then that was the price I had to pay for being happy now. There are always dues to pay.”

She ends the essay with a story about running into Eudora Welty on campus. Ellen was with her three little red-headed boys.

Welty said, “Are they yours? Do they belong to you?”

“They’re mine,” I answered. “Aren’t they funny?”

“Why would you need anything else?” She asked. “Why would you need to be a writer?”

I did not understand what she was saying to me but I do now. Eudora had no children of her own and that year she had lost her father and her brother. Her mother was in a nursing home. Think how my riches must have looked to her. Think how far away from wisdom I was not to know what she was telling me.

In the end happiness is always a balance. I hope the young women of our fortunate world find ways to balance their lives. I hope they learn to rejoice and wait.