Saturday, March 8, 2008

Simple Things

  • Everything is simpler than you think, and yet more complex than you can imagine. Author unknown.
  • "All the great things are simple, and many can be expressed in a single word: freedom, justice, honor, duty, mercy, hope". Winston Churchill
  • "Our life is frittered away by detail. Simplify, simplify, simplify! I say, let your affairs be as two or three, and not a hundred or a thousand; instead of a million count half a dozen, and keep your accounts on your thumb-nail." Henry David Thoreau
  • "We strive for wisdom but in our quest we lose our ability to find common sense." BeckyJoie

It tickles the funny bone of our intellect when we ace an IQ test, figure out a puzzle or riddle or solve a problem that has stumped others. We pat ourselves on the back and yes, I must concede that sometimes it is good to receive accolades for our skills and hard work. But somehow in life, most of the human race has managed to turn a two-mile trek into a lifetime obstacle course.

Ok, BeckyJoie, stop speaking in code and tell us what you really want to say.

I'm just sitting here pondering the busyness of life, wondering how when I sit and number the tasks at hand, How did I do all this in one day? or else: How did these few tasks take all day to accomplish?

In my classroom, none of the toddlers sit around and scratch their chins, wondering how they are going to get through the day. Instead, you will see them laughing with each other, pointing at everyday objects that we, the average adults, fail to notice. We have forgotten the basics, the beautiful and the simple things that remind us there is life beyond ourselves and that this life is all new and wonderful everyday.

When was the last time you heard a song bird in a tree, a new insect species on the window, how the bubbles in the sink fizzle and expand after you wash your hands?

Does this sound too silly for you?

Stop sometime and listen to toddlers in the mall or the grocery. Note their appreciation for the world around them. They see things we don't and don't see things we see.

Many adults look through the microscope at that loud, obnoxious "brat" disturbing their perfect circle of peaceful air. Some feel that children are a hindrance to life and wish to eliminate all contact with the "vermin".

Others take the time to learn from the simplicity of a child's outlook. The latter would seem the wise choice to me.

It is true that a child's vision is at times skewed by Toddler rule #1. What's mine is mine and what's yours is mine.

While a child can be somewhat self-centered at times, most often their worldview is simple, believing, grateful, cheerful and amazed. They are not global. They are living life and lovin' it in the minute.

Of course, they have no worries nor concept of the future but somehow they make it there none-the-worse for their lack of anxiety over it.

As adults, we have learned that life is not about having fun anymore... and, though we were created with a need for imagination, we forget to find adult ways of satisfying that need. We fill our calendars with appointments, work, chores, meetings, and other various duties, patting ourselves on the back when we've earned another ulcer or panic attack for being such "productive" members of society. Somehow we manage to stop living life and let life live us through all of it's demands. We forget that when this earth that we know was formed, the intention was in part that the inhabitants enjoy living there.

To transliterate the quote of the wisest man who ever lived on earth: The birds of the air don't worry about their next meal or what color their feathers are. They instinctively know they will find what they need and be well-kept. Why should we, humans with God-given abilities and talents fret our lives away with the details?

I have to challenge the famous saying, "Stop and take time to smell the roses". It seems many of the roses have been trampled on by the stampede of a busy society which prides itself in how many square feet it has covered in it's quest for perfection. There is nothing wrong with accomplishments and goals. Every human being should strive for excellence, but in that journey, simplicity must be the stepping stone over which we walk.

The challenge for the next week is this:Simplify, Simplify, Simplify. Do you think we will figure out how to preform such a complex task ?

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