I see this declaration everywhere. Well in homes mostly, it seems to be the catch-phrase for all the women who are struggling in that everlasting conflict of priorities. I find it to be very meaningful advice. Each time I see it, I think “I want that in my house somewhere. I need to simplify.” Perhaps if there are fewer options, it would be less of a struggle. By reducing the items on the list, it becomes easier to manage the list. So I started to imagine my list. This was all a thought process, nothing was written but in my mind it looked like this:
Feeding the Children
Balancing the budget
Going to the park
The list seemed to go on and on. This only validated my sentiment of resolution for simplicity. It was time to delete some items from the list. I started to think of which items I could delete…
I didn’t want to delete anything. I love blogging, I can’t sacrifice that. And Eli loves his music class at the library, that can’t go. Hmm. So where did that leave me? I thought I wanted to simplify my life but I’m not willing to surrender anything from my list. In fact, each day it seems that I only accumulate more items for my list. Preschool for Cameron, ballet classes for myself, more meals cooked from healthy foods.
Which brought me to my next thought process. I’ve been thinking a lot lately about simplifying our diets. By that I mean, eating more basic, local foods. Taking out all the processed foods with the ingredients I can’t pronounce. What a refreshing idea! So how do I get started? Cooking from “scratch”. Homemade bread. But wait, that isn’t making my life simpler. Making bread is time consuming.
And there I was, my mind all tied in knots. There was no resolution. I was lost and very confused. I started to think about the Amish. I used to think it was sort of arbitrary the way they chose the time period they chose to freeze their technological progression. Why then? But I’m starting to think that maybe that isn’t the point. At least for me, what I can learn from them has so much more to do with what they’ve done since they decided to halt their industrial evolution.
They get it.
They are the epitome of simplicity. There are no name brand clothes, there is no world wide web, there probably aren’t competitive sports to fill the afternoons and evenings both in participation and television viewing. They are able to really spend their time on the things that deep in my heart are really most important to me. Things like work, family, prayer.
But let’s be realistic… I’m not about to have Richard quit his job and move to Lancaster County. The reality is that I live in this world. There are advantages to things like athletics and internet. But I am at a loss as how to filter. How do I resist the forces that are pulling me in countless directions? I want my children to be well-rounded, but I want to eat dinner as a family every night. I want to develop new talents, but I want to spend quality time with my kids. I want to eat wholesome foods but I don’t have time to go to farmer’s markets every Saturday.
Can I have my cake and eat it too? Can I simplify? Do I have the self-discipline to relinquish the hobbies and pursuits Elder Oaks would only classify as “good” rather than “best”? I fear making changes and I realize I have a long way to go.
My highest esteem to the Amish. I admire and envy their sacrifice and I trust that Heaven rewards them.