Sunday, November 16, 2008

The value of simplicity


Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth. The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.” ~ Psalm 46:10-11

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Sometimes simple is better.
I was reminded of the value of simplicity this afternoon. I had a rough afternoon and needed to calm down and my wise and wonderful mom said, “Come and learn to sew on a button.” Typically, I would roll my eyes and walk away, but I was desperate and emotional, so I nodded and sat down next to her. As I watched her pull the needle and thread back and forth and back and forth and back and forth I thought about how simplicity brings a sense of peace. Simple things bring a sense of calm and comfort and rhythm and routine. Watching my mom I was able to focus on something repetitive and let my mind wrap around that small act. I was able to put aside stressful and anxious thoughts and simply take a deep breath and mellow. It was just what I needed.
On my drive back to my other home (my apartment) I thought about other simple, everyday, taken for granted acts. I thought about the simplicity of cooking. When you cook you are in control and following a recipe step by step, one thing after another, with all energy focused on what is in that pot or bowl or pan. Just like in sewing on a button, all of your energy and concentration is focused on one thing and you are using your hands and your brain, occupying your whole body.
Cooking and sewing are the basics of life and there’s a reason those acts sustain us and make up are days. They are skills that help people survive and stay nourished and clothed, but they are also acts that calm and sustain the human soul. A bit of routine and repetition and the sense of accomplishing something.
Sometimes focusing on the little things – the basics – gets us to the big picture. If we focus on the immediate details the future just sort of works itself out. You get there and realize you took the needed steps and ended up where you needed to be. Simplicity boils things down to the necessities, and there is comfort in that. I am in a state where the future makes me anxious, for a variety of reasons, but being responsible just for today, that helps…a lot. It reminded me of that verse when the Lord says, “be still, and know that I am God.” He meets us in the quiet and calms our heart. We just have to be still and remember how big God is and how present He is at the same time.
Whenever I am overwhelmed my mom asks me, “How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.” And that is what she reminded me of today while sewing on a button. Thanks, Mom. I needed that, almost as much as I need you.

1 comment:

Tobin said...

mmm amen girl. funny how the simplest things are the hardest to remember most of the time eh?