I said, “Answer me this one question.” Now keep in mind, I’m planning on witnessing to him. “If there was a God and he had a church, what would it be like?” He sat there for awhile making up his mind to play or not. Finally he sighed and said, “Well, if there was a God and he had a church—they would care for the poor, heal the sick, and they wouldn’t charge you money to teach you the Book.” I turned around and it was like an explosion in my chest. “Oh, God.” I just cried, I couldn’t help it. I thought, “Oh Lord, they know. The world knows what it’s supposed to be like. The only ones that don’t know are the Church.”
I began a love affair with simplicity when I was very little, & it began with a story. The story was about a little girl who lived on a farm. Her name was Lydia & she was Amish. Amish was a word I had never heard before. Amish, Mennonite, Hutterite, Shaker, Quaker. I fell into a different world & it was a world that fascinated me. Who were these people & why did they dress like that?
Peter Weir had yet to bring his magic way with light to the big screen via Witness. The world had yet to bear witness to the grace of forgiveness at Nickel Mines. Even the encyclopedia had barely a paragraph on these hidden people who had indeed chosen a different path, one not only less travelled but hardly known by the outside world at all.
Marguerite di Angeli's pictures of capped women & bearded men lingered in my imagination along with the unarticulated idea that one could get along perfectly well in this life without adhering to all the trappings of the 2oth century. It was an idea that I returned to again & again, turning it over in my mind like a polished pebble, rolling it between my fingers feeling for imperfections, carrying it like a talisman.
I flirted with the idea of self~sufficiency & read Foster's Freedom of Simplicity but I was studying & then I had small children ~ lots of small children ~ & the simplicity I dreamed of seemed an impractical solution in an increasingly harried existence. Yet there were things I did because they were fundamental things for who I was at my core. After we built our house we let the land rejuvenate naturally & built our garden through the regrowth. For every soul on this earth you need 3 trees to supply their oxygen. We have that ~ & then some. Most years we have planted a vegetable garden & when we had a very full house of growing children we ran chooks as well. We limited our clothing. Honestly I abhorre shopping & shopping with 5 children in tow who could never agree on who got which coloured T was more than I could face most days. We chose to live somewhere where the pace of life was slower & a sense of community predominated & over the years we ditched toys in favour of the practical things our children preferred: fishing rods & tackle, soccer balls, cricket bats, art supplies, musical instruments.
One of the things that has surprised & pleasured me because it was so very unexpected was the on~line friendships that have happened, the people in far away places who have travelled a similar path, made a similar journey & reached a similar conclusion & whom I have bumped into only because of the internet. Ember is one of these. We have chatted about simplicity in all it's various shades & forms ~ & had been doing so for some time before I realise Ember was a real live author [swoon] & actually had books published. Ones I could buy in the bookstore. A whole one on simplicity. Which Liddy gave me for Christmas.
I want to chat about that more fully in another post but in one of Ember's book's side bars I found the opening quote & I have found myself returning to this thought over & over again. In a jaded world the ability to say, "No, I have sufficient for all my need" speaks loudly. The world knows the Truth when it sees it. Gospel simplicity speaks in ways that all our words fail to address. It does something Jesus understood very well. When his disciples first gathered around him they were curious about where he lived. Jesus did not tell them about his home. He said, " Come & see". When we so live our lives that we can invite others to "Come & see" we are standing on holy ground. We find ourselves walking in The Way Jesus set out & it makes a difference. Only a dimple of the surface of the water perhaps but the ripples can have far reaching effects.