Simple Things

“In our deepest self we keep living with the illusion that we will always be the same.” Henri Nowen

“It’s really very simple,” my late spiritual director, Gladys, once said to me. She was talking about how she lived each day, waking up, having a written conversation with God in her journal, and following His guidance throughout each day. She chuckled as she said it, and so did I because I am so good at making things complicated.

Last month this theme of simplicity kept returning to me in different forms. My daughter was going around singing Keane’s, “Somewhere Only We Know…” ” “Oh, simple thing, where have you gone? I’m getting old, and I need something to rely on. So tell me when you’re gonna let me in.
I’m getting tired, and I need somewhere to begin… ” she sang while she did her homework or cleaned up her room.

Then later in the month when I was panicking because I wanted to take her somewhere for spring break, but hadn’t planned anything yet, she told me, “We don’t need to go to a tropical island. I just like to spend quality time with you. It can be really simple.”

I attended a friend’s mother’s funeral, and I was again impressed with how simply she lived, and how beautiful the tributes were to her. She had stayed for the most part, firmly planted in the same small town. She had done arts and crafts with her grandchildren. One was now an art teacher, and spoke of her grandmother’s profound influence.

Then in a class I was taking we were asked to go around saying something we were grateful for in our lives. I was struck by one older woman’s statement that really, it was the simple things that she’s grateful for. Now that her parents were no longer alive, “you just wish you could get everyone sitting around the dinner table together again, you know?” she said.

Her word have echoed in my mind ever since.

3 thoughts on “Simple Things”

  1. Thank you for your thought-provoking essays. I just read your essay in the 1/24 Washington Post, which led me to your blog. P. S. That song is one of my favorites. Have you heard the Lily Allen version?

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