"Eliminate the unnecessary so the necessary may speak."
My day began sweetly. Before my eyes even opened, visions of my grandma filled my thoughts. I lay there in the silence, picturing her just as I remembered her. I saw her face so full of expression. I heard her voice talking about her plans for the day. I smelled the aroma of breakfast that filled her home in the early morning hours. I tasted her apple butter, heaped generously on a slice of sour dough toast. And I missed her.
She's been gone for over ten years. But she lived such a long, rich life. Not monetarily. Her wealth was in things more lasting...her investments in lives, not bank accounts. Perhaps it's my recent studies of the fruits of the Spirit that brought my grandma to mind. Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control ~ all of these describe who my grandma was and how she lived her life.
Grandma's life was a beautiful example of simplicity, order, rhythm, and balance. It wasn't cluttered with busyness. She didn't struggle with too much stuff or too much space. She knew the secret of being content. For her it meant living simply and having order in her day. It also meant no more and no less than what she needed, and what brought her peace and joy. She didn't strive for more things, more time in her day, or more meaning to her existence.
As I reflected back on her life, I realized there isn't a life I long for more than hers.
Perhaps my recent feeling of emptiness is really a case of "too much". Too much stuff to manage, organize, deal with, long for. I've lost my balance, my rhythm. Though I desire order, I can't find it amidst the disorder around me. And I see I want less of what I have, so I can have more of what she had.
And the best part? It's attainable. It doesn't have to mean a shift in houses or neighborhoods or professions. It's only a change in perspective, priorities, and attitude. Simplicity, order, rhythm, balance. People over things. Generosity with time, energy, and resources. These were my grandma. And they are the stepping stones I want to take in my own path to a life well-lived.
"Everything we possess that is not necessary for life or happiness becomes a burden, and scarcely a day passes that we do not add to it."
"Material blessings, when they pay beyond the category of need, are weirdly fruitful of headaches."
"The sculptor produces the beautiful statue by chipping away such parts of marble block as are not needed ~ it is a process of elimination."
"A devout life does bring wealth, but it's the rich simplicity of being yourself before God. Since we entered the world penniless and will leave it penniless, if we have bread on the table and shoes on our feet, that's enough...Pursue a righteous life ~ a life of wonder, faith, love, steadiness, courtesy."
~From 1 Timothy 6, The Message