The Simple Life
Life is complicated. That’s a fact. We may not have much control over it, but what we do have control over is how we respond to it. I don’t know about you, but my family and I have realized the importance of our response to life in this past year. Of course, we haven’t handled it the way we should each and every time, but we’ve figured a few things out. A main one is that busyness is just too busy and mostly unnecessary. We went from having something to do every night of the week to hitting a brick wall of nothing once the quarantine was mandated. It took some adjustment, and in that time, I came to the understanding that life wasn’t all that fun with a booked calendar. It took a pandemic to teach us this. It also taught me that I snack too much when I’m bored, but that’s another post for another day…
I took the picture above of the train going through my small town one morning. Instead of being aggravated that it held me up, I decided to sit back in the driver’s seat and enjoy the view. It's not every day that I get to witness that old train wobbling along its way, the clanking of it gliding against the railroad tracks as the bell rings to announce its visit. In a blink, the train was gone and the railroad crossing barriers lifted and sent me on my way. Something as simple as enjoying the train passing by caused me to pause to think about how life has been passing me by at a much quicker pace.
Just last weekend, my son—Nate the Great—came home from college. Instead of my family spending the early evening huddled in our corners on our electronic devices, we hung out in the backyard. Our 2 ½ year-old cutie-pie neighbor came over and my 19 year-old son played on the swing with him. As I watched them play with a huge smile on my face, it made me wonder just how many simple moments I’ve squandered because our hectic lifestyle had distorted my focus.
I have a confession: My daughter Lydia Lu and I have a puzzle problem! We’ve put together so many puzzles in the last year that I’m pretty sure we’ve broken a Guinness World record by now! We’ve spent many an hour hunched over the kitchen island, piecing together puzzles while chatting about this and that. Again, simple yet so fulfilling.
I’ve shared these three captured moments with you when we’ve gotten it right, the simple life, but mostly I’ve gotten it wrong more times than I care to admit. Where work or chores or busy schedules have taken precedence over spending quality time with my family and friends. I have a very wise friend Lynn Edge, who has taught me many lessons on family, parenting, and faith. She told me something one time and it has always stuck with me: Washing the dishes will always be there, but your children won’t always stay little.
Living the simple life is all about focusing on what truly matters and not getting caught up in what doesn’t. Sure, extracurricular activities are great until they become burdensome. I encourage you to cut back on things a little. To be more about living in the moment. I’ve not taken a pile of pictures or videos of my family lately. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to capture the moment, but I’ve decided I’d rather live in it instead.
Yes, life is beyond difficult right now, but we don’t have to be. I encourage you to take a breath and give yourself—and those around you—some slack. Read a humorous book or two. Watch a few romantic comedies. Hang out with your family and friends outside on the porch. Whatever it is that brings you simple joy. I think the band Finding Favour gets what I mean about living a simple life. I love both songs “Tiny Town” and “Slip on By,” and I hope you click on the links below and listen to both songs. Just sit, listen, and enjoy them. And then, go out and live the simple life.