Thursday, November 20, 2008

Simple Thoughts

'Tis the gift to be simple, 'tis the gift to be free,
'Tis the gift to come down where you ought to be,
And when we find ourselves in the place just right,
'Twill be in the valley of love and delight.
When true simplicity is gain'd,
To bow and to bend we shan't be asham'd,
To turn, turn will be our delight,
Till by turning, turning we come round right.

~~Shaker Dance~~

I find myself drawn to simple thoughts and simple tasks this day as I sit many miles apart from my sister, yet find my heart beating so close to hers. She stands at the graveside of her dear mother-in-law and bids her farewell from this earth. The once vibrant, sprightly, and at times all too vexing mother of her husband slowed so suddenly and then closed her eyes in final rest before any could fully grasp that 87 signaled her full portion. As accountant, taxi service, personal shopper, friend, and loving daughter, Cindy served May with the love of a daughter without need of the law. Though they shared but a mere handful of years together, my sister will lovingly fondle the bequeathed jade necklace worn round her neck at the burial site and surely shed tears for all the tomorrows she had hoped to share with May. I pray for peace to surround them all on this difficult day of parting.

The gift of a simple cadence to my day affords me the opportunity to sit and pray without checking a watch (I haven’t worn one since I quit participating in the corporate American circus well over 20 years ago). In contemplative moments of late I have pondered much and prayed so deeply for so many: For those burying loved ones, battling illness, sitting by a baby’s bedside in hospital, counting the pennies in the till as word comes down of a lost job or home or opportunity. So many troubles, so many cares in this day. And yet, as I seek His word and sit quietly in His presence a flooding of peace and comfort fills me to overflowing. Just through this little blogspot I have found tethers and tendrils to so many with such joy and love and hope to express and share for all the world to partake and celebrate. Lately, my sporadic sessions on the computer have been consumed with seeking less-trodden paths. Many of these quiet sites do not offer a comment forum or have one that sits idle. I sit peacefully and drink in the simple lives and abundant gifts that these secluded places whisper about. The chatter-less meadow entices me to read back and touch the heart of the writer who daily sojourns without a pat or bantering smile.

I bookmarked many of these little hollows wherein simple folk eschew the bright lights and bling of the common world. Though I do not read by candlelight, nor spin and weave my cloth, I do share so many of the simple ideas and governing thoughts for a life given over to the diurnal tasks without thought to tomorrow’s reward. The smile of a child, the strains of a scale at practice time, the beauty of a family gathered ‘round the table, heads bowed in thankfulness for another blessed day – these treasures fill my chest. Long ago, in a moment of sheer exhaustion and disappointment I left job and picked up dormant dreams of a better life. We struggled and survived on less in order to gain more. Dreams of a home-based life with Gary working among us came true after traversing a rocky path filled with pain, toil, and sacrifice – but the joy persisted and lives today with a gentler path, but still one requiring active effort to remain focused on this portion, not the portion paraded by the world.

Many years ago we turned off our TV, begged off the whirlwind of social activities, and closed our eyes to the bright lights in search of something quieter. I have no regrets as I sit here sipping tea and listening to my children going about the business of learning, dreaming, working, and living right alongside parents who learn, dream, work, and live under the same roof. Though some have questioned and doubts have arisen, the fruit hangs lush upon the vines for all to enjoy here in our cottage life. To have found so many kindreds in the blogdom has brought a smile to my face, which at times falls prey to furrows of worry that the life we cherish may be plowed under in an onslaught of pressure from without. Ironically, while headlines scream of the demise of the American Dream, so many joyfully sing of a different kind of dream – a simple dream of family meals and agrarian projects, of handmade fun and homespun beauty.

The bookshelves lining our cottage weigh heavy with the truth of lives lived many years ago. The simple wisdom and meaningful work they engaged in daily mirrors our daily portion. Though we do not milk animals at dawn (though some lobby heavily for just such a pleasure) or feast solely upon our harvested goods, we do strive to find the meaningful tasks and shed the superfluous. The gift of simplicity we share with our children can be enjoyed in the country, the city, the suburbs, or even somewhere in transition. The blogging world has afforded me the gift of finding so many simply-minded ones. Let us join hands and dance as we preserve the pathway for our children.

Life ends abruptly and only memories remain. Let us ensure those remembrances bring smiles and engender hope. My sister will file back through the years spent with May and savor the sweetness of shared moments. I strive each day for a feast of simple moments to share with my family and nourish their hearts with hope in a world that seems to have forgotten the value of simplicity in the race for more that results in less.

Thus saith the LORD,
Stand ye in the ways,
And see, and ask for the old paths,
Where is the good way,
And walk therein,
And ye shall find rest for your souls.

Jeremiah 6:16

* * * * *
And they that shall be of thee
Shall build the old waste places:
Thou shalt raise up the foundations
Of many generations;
And thou shalt be called,
The repairer of the breach,
The restorer of paths to dwell in.
Isaiah 58:12


kylie said...

hi debbie,
i'm not sure that i could live as you do but i certainly hanker for a simpler life....
that is not to be right now but i hold to the promise "delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart"

while i wait i'll let you remind me to make things as simple as i can


Laura ~Peach~ said...

Another wonderful post... I love how you write and share :)
Hugs and prayers.

Flea said...

I'm glad you're in cyber space, savoring the quiet life, praying for others, enjoying your family, encouraging others by example and word. :) My heart goes out to your sister.

Another site, if you haven't already visited, to contemplate:

Karen said...

In summer, we turn off the TV and spend our time outdoors roasting marshmallows over a fire, catching fireflies, playing tag in the dark... And it's so very sweet.

I need to take another page out of your book and declare winter nights family game nights. Thanks for reminding me that the simple things are the very best.

Brenda@CoffeeTeaBooks said...

I love this post.

It has favorite scripture and poetry.

It is a perfect example of what C. S. Lewis talks about when he says, "We read to know we are not alone". :)

Anonymous said...

I just found you from Brenda's blog comments. I am so glad I came to your site. I too lost a dear friend who happened to be my husband's grandmother. In the short time I knew her I learned so many things about life and homemaking. She has enriched our famlies lives forever. I was so happy to be able to do for her while she was still here on earth. To say I miss her is an understatement. Love them while you can. Jody

Dawn said...

I'm sorry to hear about your sister's loss today...I pray she will find comfort during this difficult time.
I agree with you wholeheartedly with what you say about simplicity.... and you expressed it so eloquently.

FancyHorse said...

Such a wonderful post ~ to live the simple life should be our goal. Thank you for the reminder.

My thoughts and prayers for your sister, her husband, and his family.

imbeingheldhostage said...

It's like that coming here too-- a break from chaos and all things complicated.

the mommie of mommie blogs said...

a simple life, the more I think about it the more I desire it. we walk into our little town tonight, freezing, just bundled up the little man and drank hot chocolate, listen to Christmas music and watched them light the tree. just a few miles from the city, we felt what its like to be apart of a small town. no tv or artificial entertainment needed. just me, my bub, our superman and puppy-girl :)

thank you for the great post.

and I am truly sorry to hear about your sister's loss...


Ruth MacC said...

Yes, I am sorry about the loss, but I am glad she lived so long and was such an addition to other people's lives.

We have no te either, but oh, how busy our lives are living in a small estate with lots of neighbours and their children!

I long for the quiet, and then I think of being with the LOrd, Heaven etc... It won't be long now!