Sunday, September 25, 2011

A Simple Life

My beautiful friend Danette and I took a Saturday morning sunrise stroll along Lake Michigan for sea glass searching, coffee sipping, and sharing stories of our hearts when she observed-"Your life is so simple."

Nodding in agreement to that fact and thinking that she was referring to what appears to be a low-stress life on the outside, I began reciting the litany of my many known and normal blessings-a beautiful and good family, physical health, a meaningful job that I enjoy when she interrupted,"That's not what I mean. Your life is simple because it isn't filled with secular interests, nothing seems to concern you that isn't of God."

I wish it were that easy and I find it interesting that she sees me that way when in my mind the things of God are rarely simple; I frequently agonize over how difficult it is to achieve holiness and I often struggle because I can't feel the constant presence of God. If it's true that my life is simple, then I would categorize it as an intensely simple life-for everything that is of God doesn't just gently dwell within my soul, but rather, it rages inside ravaging my spirit with deep emotion.

On Sunday afternoon my daughter and I went shopping for new dress pants and shoes. I thought, here's a nice, normal secular activity and quite an enjoyable time with my daughter, too. But, difficult! Why is it that very few stores carry respectable dress pants for ten-year-old girls? Everything was tight, ripped or shiny like a rock star would wear. Finally, after visiting four stores, we found some decent pants with a matching shirt and sweater that we both could agree upon. While checking out, the clerk asked if the outfit was meant for a special occasion. I answered that it was for wearing to church on Sundays, which, as a matter of fact, is always a special occasion.

As we were driving home, Mary asked if she could take off her moccasins and put on her new black shoes right away. I told her that she should save them for church only. She complained that she didn't want to wait a whole week to wear her new shoes to which I replied that we could go to church right now if she wanted to and we both laughed, but wouldn't that have been a touching way to show our gratitude to God for the gift of our afternoon together? My daughter is a gem, but I see that our secular shopping trip was indeed tinged with talk of God and giving Him glory with proper dress when we visit Him in His house.

So, maybe Danette was right after all-I do have a simple life with the presence of God affecting every little detail, but it's me who often denies that simplicity by pushing so hard for more than what I have been given and for dwelling too long on the challenges instead of showing thankfulness for the joys.

Joining Ann at A Holy Experience and giving thanks to God for these simple blessings:

~early fall colors
~picking the last of the grapes for the season
~concord grape pie
~inviting a lonely friend from church to share dinner and a Packer football game with us
~the Heimlich maneuver!
~the laughter of my daughter
~the prayer of absolution and forgiveness of my sins
~Eucharistic Adoration and the beautiful gift of His Body and Blood
~learning about the value of redemptive suffering
~rain to nourish the earth
~husband's arms gently holding me in the night when tears fall
~receiving a long-awaited letter in the mail with an opportunity to serve the Lord ever more deeply
~George Winston's Autumn CD
~serving on the Respect Life Committee and working to save lives
~a treasured friendship and a Saturday morning walk


  1. I try to make it a habit to read the posts to the left and right of my post on Ann's link-up... you are to my right... and I am so glad. I so deeply enjoyed this post. Simplicity, I find, is so much ---SO much deeper--- than my outside circumstance. And, I long to have God invade my every part, every thought. When actually my thoughts, my mind, my heart are far from the simple He could give me. Good food for thought. ...blessings on you as you continue to count and see Him more and more.

  2. Anne,
    I think your friend is right: God is always on your mind :) I don't think I've ever seen a post of your that doesn't refer to Him whether directly or indirectly. You even shop with Him in mind!
    The Heimlich maneuver has saved my daughter's life twice so I'm grateful for it too! Great list, Anne. And a good reminder for me to be thankful and focus on the good. God bless you, my friend.