Monday, July 19, 2010

simple

It was a warm and sunny day yesterday, so Dean and I walked to the grocery store and bought a few items. It gave me the greatest delight, for some reason, to tend to the small details of life like selecting a piece of fruit and buying toilet paper on sale, and to do it with a very agreeable companion. On Saturday I awoke with intense gratitude that I had arms and legs, air to breathe, eyes to see, and ears that could hear. What a wonder to be able to experience the world by moving through it, self-propelled. And what a plethora of vibrant and variegated sensory amazements awaits me everyday.

I am a simple person at heart. I do not need much to be happy. I rarely go shopping for clothes (gifts and clothing exchanges account for much in my closet) and could eat the same diet of cereals, fruits, salad, and tea every day. I regularly give things away to avoid the feeling of claustrophobia that comes upon me when I see a stuffed closet or a crowded room. I believe I might have made a good monk, for all I need is a quiet place with a book (and perhaps a cat), a drink, a place to walk, and I am content for hours, even days.

It is when I forget the basics, the simple building blocks of life, that I get myself into trouble. That is when I start to compare, to complain, to see the negative side of things, to get overwhelmed by complexities and deadlines, to create scenarios of "what if," and to worry that things will escalate out of control. That is when I work in a frenzied manner, when I neglect to breathe deeply, and when I give room to jealousy, impatience, and the sense of entitlement. That is when I also forget to make room for the simple work of surrendering to love, when I neglect to embrace grace, and when I swat away the hovering presence of God that tries to light on me and promises to change me.

But life is simple. I get up, I breathe, I work, I play, I eat, I expel, I interact, I rest. I love simple, and I believe it might be part of what Jesus meant when he said that unless we become like little children, we will have a hard time being part of what he is doing (Matthew 18 and Luke 18). Simple means that I don't feel the need to complicate life. Simple means sitting with humility instead of chasing sophistication or recognition. Simple means that I have the ability to see and appreciate what is in front of me. What the children saw (in the Matthew and Luke passages) was Jesus. And Jesus is beautiful. As long as he is in my line of vision, everything takes on the glow of his exquisite and pure nature. And I am very content with that. Content and ecstatic at the same time.

Love people even in their sin, for that is the semblance of Divine Love and is the highest love on earth. Love all of God's creation, the whole and every grain of sand of it. Love every leaf, every ray of God's light. Love the animal, love the plants, love everything. If you love everything, you will perceive the divine mystery in things. Once you perceive it, you will begin to comprehend it better every day. And you will come at last to love the whole world with an all-embracing love. [1]

[1] Richard Rohr, Everything Belongs. New York, The Cross Road Publishing Co., 2003, p. 28.

This is a picture of a watermelon I bought last week. Absolutely magnificent to the eyes and to the taste!

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