a gift – to be simple
this weekend we went to a wedding. the ceremony stirred something in my soul that – three days later – is still bouncing around in there. it started as the bridesmaids and bride walked down to a recorder and hammer dulcimer playing “tis a gift to be simple, tis a gift to be free….”. it continued when i read in the bulletin that one of the couple’s goals for their marriage was to “enjoy simply”. and then it EXPLODED when ben’s uncle jim and i had a conversation about simplicity.
uncle jim talked about simplicity not being created by the place you live (west-east/po-dunk kansas-NYC) or the style you wear (though i do love those hippie dresses) or even how much money you spend – or don’t spend. he thinks simplicity is a reflection of being – a de-clutterning the soul of unnecessary distractions in order to provide enough space to enjoy the lasting things in life. hmmmm….i like that. this way, clutter can come in so many, many forms…
i consider myself on a journey in this regard. i feel so far from simplicity as a way of life. and yet, i recognize this growing, primal urge to pear down my life so that only the essential remains.
i hope that one day this increasing desire to discern between clutter and treasure will become very tangible, touching every area of life. i hope to live in a place with possessions that ONLY sustain our bodies and quench our souls (probably being surprised at how little truly quenches). and that even on our pastor’s salary, because we have spent frugally and need based, we would be able to support our friends who are missionaries and give spontaneously to a widow in need. and what seems so far away – that i would learn simplicity with my time. right now, every person feels urgent; every opportunity sacred. and sadly, many moments wasted on cheap, temporary fixes (yes, facebook, i am talking about you). what would it be like if i gave my time only to people and activities that are TRULY needed and filling (emphasis on truly)?
i sense that we are at a very critical point in our family’s life. with life being so new in NJ, our lives still have that empty slate feel. i am keenly aware of the temptation to hurry, grab the chalk, and start writing until there is no black to be seen. but what i want SO BADLY is to hold back, pray, and ask God to make clear the essential – the eternal. and then to live out the essential eternal. and only the essential eternal.
a simple moment for me was kayaking on Big Twin this summer. it was sunset and i was the only one on the lake. oh to live with the clear mind and spacious soul found in that moment in the midst of the suburban sprawl. how do i do this? how do you do this?
ps -with all of these nebulous ideas bouncing like pinballs in my head, i have decided i need an outlet, something that will make these longings productive in real time. so i am going to read a book on simplicity, called “Freedom of Simplicity” by Richard Foster. Uncle Jim recommended it and i am hoping that it will help produce real life decision and direction. wouldn’t it be cool if one of you, who also long for simplicity, decided to read the book and discuss it with me….