Monday, July 22, 2013

A Simple Life

As we were driving around on Saturday afternoon, we found ourselves on one of those quiet, windy back country roads where the curves outnumber the houses and the silence explodes into gentle breezes and chirping birds. Green grass seemed greener, blue skies seemed bluer, and the only words that my mind would form out of the loveliness was serene. My husband's question interrupted my thoughts. "Would you like to live out here?" My daughter was the first to answer with a quick "Nope", and my son wasn't too far behind with his "ummm...maybe...", but my answer wasn't so simple. I don't like windy roads (grew up on one) and I don't like not having neighbors, but I am inexplicably drawn toward what seems like a simple life. And I perceive these quiet farm houses with their tire swings and picket fences, far away from noise and traffic and crazy as simple. But is it really? It must take forever to get to the grocery store, and going to the mall must be a pain, not to mention taking all day. So what is this simplicity that I crave?

I have always loved the book The Bridges of Madison County, and not for the main plot, but for the story it tells of Francesca's simple life in her simple house, with her whitewashed walls and curtains gently waving in the breeze (okay, so that's only in my imagination, because her wasn't actually like that in the movie). But her life was anything but simple, as is obvious when her lover comes on the scene.

Could the simplicity I so want really be a state of mind and not circumstances, possible right here in the middle of hectic? Could I work at not being overwhelmed by life and instead work at taking it in pieces, getting my today in order before I worry so much about my tomorrow? What does that even look like???

There are, of course, a few changes I know I can make that will better my mental load. I can stop worrying so much about what I eat and how much I exercise (moderation is key). I can quit devoting so much brain power to how my house looks and how it is decorated. I can avoid thinking about me and what I want and start putting some effort into thinking about others. To be perfectly honest, I don't always want to do these things, so I don't. But the outcome is the same every time: too much me + too much me = a harried, agitated state of mind.

Which is what I've been trying to run away from while searching for the key to a simple life.

"Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? ..."
{matthew 6:25-34}

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