Recently, I had the privilege of living simply. It was an adventure that made me more thankful for the simplest things around that I easily overlook. I came away from this experience resolving to consciously appreciate life more.
At first it felt like my whole world was crushing down on me. It was an overwhelming sense of temporary loss. But overcoming the initial withdrawal symptoms, I made it through ok.
I found myself at a very ‘strange’ location. My cell phone went dead. Then I was without running water. No electricity, effectively eliminating TV watching from my routine, and of course affecting my ability to surf the net, check my emails or do the Facebook thing. I managed to get through the first day with a lot of difficulty.
Things got a bit complicated with the weather turning colder than usual. Of course I did not anticipate nor did I plan for this. Then I discovered that the gas to power the heat was turned off. This meant I could not cook too. I rationalized that it was my choice to be here and decided to tough it out.
On the second day I was beginning to enjoy the quiet and serenity away from modern amenities. No phone calls, no TV, Radio or Computer, no running water, no heat except my feeble attempt at setting the fireplace aflame.
During this time, I read a lot, rested a lot, had many conversations with God, and nature without the usual constant interruptions from the outside world. I heard things I haven’t heard in a while. The sky held a magnificence I desired to bask in continuously. The fire in the fireplace had an exceptional glow I never noticed. Even the darkness had some admirable stillness to it.
But after a while I was getting uncomfortable. I needed a hot shower, a cooked meal, I missed the sight, sound and feel of running water, and the memory of the glow of my phone’s screen beckoned me like the Las Vegas Light shows.
Returning to my ‘normal’ life was a sweet and sour experience. Sweet because I was entering ‘civilization’ again. Sour, because I dreaded taking the simple things for granted soon and again. Thankfully so far, the change that occurred in me is holding fast. Running water now evokes melodious songs of praises. When I flip on the light, I’m amazed by the quick response.
It has been a bit cold lately. When the heater comes on, I’m more appreciative. Cooking meals are now grand acts of offering gratitude, a few times close to offering burnt sacrifices. How did I miss simple things like these being that pleasurable?
The culprit is none but the busyness of life: The often self-imposed rat-race going nowhere so fast. The much ado about nothing. All these crowd out our earnest desire to live meaningful lives.
Today, as I thought about becoming more intentional about being grateful and living simple on a day by day basis, a song by the late Jim Reeves drifted from my dad’s Grundig LP player of yesteryear into my head. It made it to my lips and I heartily sang the words I clearly remember:
We thank Thee each morning for a new-born day
Where we may work the fields of new-mown hay
We thank Thee for the sunshine and the air that we breathe
oh Lord we thank Thee
Thank Thee for the rivers that run all day
Thank Thee for the little birds that sing along the way
Thank Thee for the trees and the deep blue sea oh Lord
we thank Thee
Oh yes we thank Thee Lord for every flower that blooms
Birds that sing fish that swim and the light of the moon
We thank Thee every day as we kneel and pray
That we were born with eyes to see these things
Thank Thee for the fields where the clover is grown
Thank Thee for the pastures where cattle may roam
Thank Thee for Thy love so pure and so free
oh Lord we thank Thee. . .
Now and once again, I’m acutely aware of the high fever pitch of busyness as many merchants launch relentless assault on all of us on account of the approaching Valentine’s Day. Wading through the shouts of flowers for sale, ferocious cat-calls of chocolate all seemingly chanting my name and the squealing announcements of reds almost everywhere will definitely be a test of my quest for the simple pleasures of life.
Watch and listen to the song here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M0LfOSlQuj0
Please, share some of the simple pleasures in your life.