The complexity of my simple life has been on my mind. When I consider the meaning of a "simple life", I think most people lean towards the definition of a plain, basic, or uncomplicated in form of living, as is defined in the dictionary. We imagine moving back in time towards a day in which we weren't constantly connected to our phones and the world's problems. We look for a life that is emptied of worldly treasures and consumeristic values, and instead pursues a life of purpose and intention.
And yet, as I dive further and further into minimizing my possessions and simplifying the way I live, I grow more and more aware of the complexity of what it means to live simply.
First and foremost, the battle to live simply is an intentional and deliberate choice that must be made every single day. It is not the norm, and it certainly isn't what our world promotes. Just the fact that the choice of living simply takes so much effort is ironic in itself. Shouldn't something simple be easy?
The truth of the matter is living simply is not easy. In fact, I might argue that it's extremely difficult. Let me explain.
When I'm not battling my inner demons to stay true to myself and let go of what the world tells me to be, I face the challenges of the "simple" life I've chosen each and every day.
It's the challenge of disciplining myself to get outside and take care of the animals that depend on me.
It's the burden of buckets of fresh vegetables piling up as they wait for preservation for winter.
It's the struggle of realizing that things will not go as planned. Animals will get out of their fences, weeds will take over, and the reality that you are only one person and you cannot accomplish everything on your own sets in.
It's the inner questioning of if I'm doing the right thing by making my kids help with the chores instead of allowing them to play freely as they wish. Am I taking away their childhood? Am I asking too much of these little people?
It's the complicated feelings of sadness and gratitude for the lives of the animals who have now become the fuel for our family by serving us on our dinner tables.
And then there's the complexity of the awakening that happens when you simplify your life and disconnect from the world's problems, lures, and promises and focus in on what the Earth and what God has created for you.
Like the smell of dill in the garden and the unhindered joy it brings.
Or the wonder you feel as you sit and watch the wind dance upon the flowers while the birds sing the soundtrack, only made possible because your mind has been freed from the burdens of what had been holding you hostage from noticing it before.
Or perhaps you feel the complexity as you watch the animals go through some of the same experiences as you yourself have or will face. When you, a human, can connect to a cow as she licks her baby after giving birth, recognizing the sameness in the experience. Or when you, a human, can start to come to terms with the idea of death being a part of life, after witnessing the loss of one of the flock.
Yes, we've simplified our life. We've chosen to minimize the sounds of the material world and focused in on the whispers of the natural one. We've given up many of the things that the rest of the world eagerly pursues. We focus our time and energy on being intentional; we create with our hands, notice with our eyes, and feel with our hearts because we know the inner reward of these experiences.
Yes, we've chosen a simple life. But the complexities of this life; well, I'm not sure I'll ever be able to fully comprehend them...and so, it's for that reason I can say my simple life is anything but simple.
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