Let me start by saying that, on most days, my life feels anything but simple. I do a lot of juggling of responsibilities and priorities in my schedule.
There are those things I’m bound to do – work for Candler, work for church, work for CBF… there goes 40 hours of my week (which doesn’t include the time I spend doing homework).
Then there are all the other things that I think are important to do – spending time with friends, exercising, sleeping (no, I don’t include this on the mandatory list), taking the time to cook healthy meals.
And there are a lot of things that I want to do – creating something artistic, taking the opportunity to preach when it comes my way, watching a good movie or reading a good book (that isn’t for school), going to the farmer’s market, making road trips to visit friends and family. These are the kinds of thing that seem to come once in a blue moon… but are the things that probably bring me the most joy.
It’s not that those “required” things in the first list don’t bring me any joy… but when added with the second list, my life starts to feel really complicated. Something tends to fall by the wayside (sleep). And if I try to insert something from the third list, I typically have to sacrifice something on the first list… and I end up resenting that first list because it makes me feel guilty about doing things that I really love to do.
See? It’s complicated. (I’m fully aware that I don’t have kids or a husband or poverty or sickness to deal with. Life could be more complex.)
There are a gazillion websites and blogs about “simplifying your life,” and I read a magazine every month called “Real Simple.” I’ve done a couple of things to make my life simpler. For instance: I do not watch television. I just don’t need a TV schedule to push and pull on my life. Also, I try to clean a little bit on a regular basis. I rarely have time to do a deep cleaning… So yes, sometimes the clutter gets out of hand… But a little bit of organizing and sanitizing at a time goes a long way for my sense of sanity.
But these things don’t get my life even close to belonging on the pages of a magazine. I think my life is not meant for perfect simplicity… not for this season at least. Not with exams and papers and jobs and dishes to wash and friends/family spread across the country and world.
However, this morning sunlight and fresh air are streaming in through the window, birds are singing, coffee is brewing, I am breathing deeply… and life feels simple. Just for an hour. At first I thought: This is a wonderful gift from me to myself. But no. I think it is a Divine whisper: You need this. I’m giving it to you. Take it. Too often I push the gift away, and this morning, I said OK.
Simplicity, clarity, singleness: These are the attributes that give life power and vividness and joy… They seem to be the purpose of God for his whole creation.-Richard Holloway