Everyday Spirituality

Posts tagged ‘loved ones’

The Simple Life (pt.1)

 Is the Simple Life the same as Simply  Living?

You can ponder that  question for yourself.

We made the decision that simply living was not going to be good enough in spite of this Simple Life we are now experiencing.

 

There have been times in my life where things were very simple. My convent days were on e of those times. While in religious life I was not very concerned with the material world. Not sure if that is all good or not.

But there is something to be said about a simple life. When you live in an environment filled up with stuff it is distracting and even stressful.

When a terminal illness takes hold of your life you are almost forced to simplify your life. The deteriorating body forces a certain kind of simplicity. You can no longer physically support all that you were previously doing. I witnessed this happen to my friend. She fought with all of might to keep up with all of her commitments, but in the end she was forced to give up most things.

The last few months she began to give away many of her personal belongs. She may not have been thinking at the time about simplifying her life, but that was the reality. Once she gave something away it was entrusted to that person from then on.

Some people might consider uncluttering your life the same as having a simple one, but I am not sure. The amount of livable space you have is also an example of a simple life. The more space you have the more upkeep it requires.

Maybe that is a better way to measure whether or not you have a simple life. How much space do you actually require? It is true that no matter how much space you have your ‘stuff’ will expand to fill it up.

When you are facing a serious illness your space seems to decrease. Maybe it is due to impaired mobility so your space seems restricted. I think of people in a jail cell their space is very restricted. My one room in the motherhouse was very restricted. Living in a college dorm room is also restricted.

Now I am facing another very restricted space. We have been thrust into a simple lifestyle, at least for now.

Can you imagine living in a small simple room like a hotel for a year?

How does one go from 3400 square feet home to one room and one closet?

We are not living off the land…we are not riding a bike everywhere…

We are sharing one bathroom…one closet (not a walk in), and one desk.

The kitchen is the most simple of all. How can I live without my numerous kitchen gadgets? A two burner stove, no oven, but a large microwave…the things you get excited about change when you live a simple life….just as they do when you are sick.

The most exciting thing is the room gets a really good cleaning once a week. These women are wonderful; they clean everything from top to bottom. I can learn how to be efficient just watching them work together as a team.

The Simple Life usually does not include your own cleaning crew…one of the perks.

The kitchen is the most challenging…one small sink, where do you rinse the dishes? …two burner stove top at least it is flat top…no oven, microwave baked potatoes and hot popcorn will be yummy…and about two feet of counter space, this is a real challenge.

I am learning quickly…The Simple Life means you have out only what you are using. This little kitchen does have two complete place settings of utensils…two dinner plates…two salad plates…two bowls and two coffee cups and glasses. A few cooking utensils…three pots…some plastic storage containers and three small drawers (one housing the three pots)…

Take a moment and look around just your kitchen and see how many things you just expect to be there. Then imagine you have only ten items left…which ones would you really need?

Coming in the second part of this post will be pictures and more on my new Simple Life.

With Love all things are possible…

Even the Simple (One Room) Life!

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The Empty Chair

 

This morning I entered this small room in the back of the chapel. I was touched by the sunshine streaming through the colored pieces of stained glass. Each piece of the colored glass combined together creating a beautiful scene of leaves…

This room is usually used as a space dedicated to reconciliation. A sacred place where one can enter to return to the holy grace of God. Most of the time sunshine is not pouring through these pieces of glass.

I wonder. If each person realized that chair had been gently painted with the colors of grace would they approach it differently? I wonder?

This is not an ordinary chair. It waits for you to be seated in the presence of God through the presence of the priest. It waits; already filled with the essence of grace. It waits just for you to come and be renewed with God’s love for you.

Another thought crossed my mind as I reflect on this empty chair painted in the colors of sunlight. What if after we die impressions of our goodness remained behind as washes of colored sunlight?

This chair is not empty. It only appears so at first glance. Look deeper. Look with new eyes. Look with your heart and surrender to peace.

This year, as you call to mind those who have gone before you to eternal rest, I invite you to see the colors they have left in your heart. Colors of who they were splashed as precious memories in your soul. Memories you can return to for comfort and joy.

If I could capture the beauty and love of my maternal grandmother in colored light it would be happy pastel colors imbued with simple joy. The blues of tenderness…the pinks of love…the yellows of laughter…the greens of faithfulness and so many more hues.

Are we not to be reflections of God’s love?

How does this empty color washed chair speak to you?

Let your reflections wash over this page…Please leave a comment to inspire those who come to read after you. Allow your essence to bless those around you.