a simple life

one of my favorite things to do in the morning, when the house is still, is to sit at the kitchen table and look out the windows at the way the early light hits our neighbour’s meadow-like expanse of lawn. it is so peaceful then, with the coffee pot’s burbling and birdsong the only sounds, that i find myself thinking, “this is how life should be … simple and lovely.”

i imagine things like a big garden out back, glass jars of jam gleaming proudly on the counter, toast and tea and someone with a scruffy chin and shining eyes, and a half-dozen freckle-faced children still asleep upstairs. treehouses, the trivium and quadrivium, and doing things the old-fashioned way. learning to be wise as serpents and innocent as doves. puttering in the flowerbeds. feeding people. holding hands, goodnight prayers and kisses on the forehead.

as beautiful as these facets of “simple life” seem in my mind, i know that it is far from idyllic in reality. there are things like weeding, diapers, math tests, disagreements, trials, tears, headaches, heartaches.

all this makes me wonder what “simple life” looks like for a christian, whether single or married. or even whether the lives we’re called to lead could ever be called simple, or should be. we’re called to the best adventure anyone could imagine … and it isn’t safe. and, i begin to suspect, is both simple and profoundly complex — part of the beauty of the gospel, after all, is that it is mind-bogglingly complex and earth-shatteringly simple.

Holy God in love became
Perfect Man to bear my blame
on the cross He took my sin
by His death i live again.

that sounds so simple, yes? but it involves such complex realities that the more i learn these truths and the deeper i know them, the more astonishing and awe-filled they become.

i don’t for a moment think that simplicity and complexity are in conflict or negate each other in the way life is supposed to be lived … so how do we find the harmony between the ever-present madding crowd of things to do and be involved in and people to pursue, and whatever our family happens to be? what does “simple” look like? what should it — or should it not — look like? how do we entwine and spin out our lives so that all things revolve around Christ, His body and His gospel?

“here i am only trying to describe the enormous emotions which cannot be described. and the strongest emotion was that life was as precious as it was puzzling. it was an ecstasy because it was an adventure; it was an adventure because it was an opportunity.” — g.k. chesterton

how shall we now live?