DO WE ALL CRAVE SIMPLICITY?A friend emailed me, in response to my Wide Margins post. She wondered why she has such a hard time slowing down and enjoying the simpler things. This is what she said:
"If you ever have any thoughts on it, would you consider writing what you think about people like me who really don't know how to enjoy things like hanging laundry outside, having container gardens, etc.? I think there's probably more people that are like me, but considering I seem to be surrounded by people who do enjoy those things, it makes me want to be able to enjoy them b/c I see how much you do. I don't think I take the time to enjoy things in general. I'm too fast paced. Like if I take a bath, I have to have something to read or else I feel like I'm wasting time."
I think many, many people feel this way, at least sometimes. But WHY? Why do we struggle with the balance of having a full life, but one that isn't too full of things that make life stressful? What is a simple life, anyway? That could look very different to different people...or might look different to the same person, at different stages of life. I don't know the answer to those questions, but I do know this. Living a simple, pared down life is better for you...less chaos and stress and pressures tugging at a person must be good for the health...lower blood pressure, better sleep, etc. Also, it is a biblical concept "Be still, and know that I am God. Psalm 46:10" It is very hard (If not impossible!) to commune with Christ if we are too busy rushing around to hear Him.
I also don't think that being still, choosing peace over chaos, is something that comes naturally. It is like anything else worth doing...it must be practiced intentionally. It is learned, over and over again. Our culture is not one that thinks much of simplicity or stillness. We want to be productive, efficient, organized. How much can we possibly cram into one day? How much multi-tasking can we do? It is all about the bottom line. I fight that mind set all the time. When my hubby comes home and asks me what I did that day, I want to give him a big, long, dramatic list of ALL the things I have accomplished. In my weak mind, sharing a long, impressive "ta-da" list with him says "See, aren't I important?"
There are several books that I think speak beautifully on the subject. Maybe you know of more (if so, please do tell!).
-The Quotidian Mysteries by Kathleen Norris
-The Practice of the Presence of God by Brother Lawrence
-Gift from the Sea by Anne Morrow Lindbergh
-Mitten Strings for God: Reflections for mothers in a hurry by Katrina Kennison*
So, my friend and I are wondering: what is your take on leading and living a simple life? Do you see the importance of it? Do you enjoy being "busy" or do you long for margins in your day? What aspect of this to you struggle w/ most?
*This book is excellent for mothers with small children