January 28, 2013
It wasn’t the proximity of the magazine (right there on the table beside me) that caught my eye, it was the title. And since there is little else one can do in a doctor’s waiting room than leaf through germ-riddled periodicals, I did just that.
Real Simple, it read.
Though I’ve since learned it’s quite the popular publication, I had no idea it existed. Did not even know such a subject had been deemed to interesting as to devote an entire magazine to it. My wife has corrected my ignorance on the matter. She said simple is in now. Simple is cool.
Now that I’ve thought about it, I can understand why. It’s a mess out there in the big, wide world. All that shouting and pointing of fingers, all that angst and unease. There was a time not too long ago when most people felt we were all charging headlong into the future, and the future was going to be a wonderful place. No more war, no more hunger, no more want and hurt. Science and technology was going to save us from ourselves.
I think it’s safe to say that’s not really the case anymore. I think a lot of us are beginning to see that we certainly are charging headlong, but the future isn’t as bright as it once was. That our science and technology might help us a great deal, but it also sucks our time and, in the process, maybe a little bit of our souls. Everything seems so complicated, and that same hidden part of us that whispers a random cough might be a building cold is whispering that complicated isn’t good, complicated makes things harder. And the cure for complicated? Simple.
I think of a relative of mine living up in the mountains. A simple man with a simple home. Woodstove for heat, well for water. He doesn’t have much, but he has what he needs and is all the better for it. Sometimes I think riches are best measured not in how much of something we have, but how much of something we can let go of.
Snow is falling just outside my window right now. The smart man on the radio doesn’t really know how much will end up on the roads and grass, only that it will be “measureable.” And even now I can see men and women coming home after a long day with gallons of milk and loaves of bread in their hands. I’ve written before about how and why people turn to the basics when the world bares its teeth. I think the same applies here.
There is much to be said for simplifying things, of cutting back and trimming down. Let’s face it, ours is an imminently blessed nation to call home, and as a result we have an overabundance of stuff we could really do without. And by that, I mean things we possess and things that possess us, things on our outsides and others inside. Because most of us don’t just own a lot, we carry a lot as well.
I’m still on the fence with a resolution for this year. Maybe simplifying my life fits the bill. Maybe instead of getting more, I’ll give more. Maybe instead of hanging on, I’ll let go. Maybe we should all get back to the basics. Maybe getting away from them is the cause of much of the world’s hurts.
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