Tuesday, June 14, 2011
A Gentler Set of Complications
When I read about "simple living" or a "simpler life-style," I have to smile. I am living that "simple life" and there is nothing simple (or easy) about it. If you leave the other kind of lifestyle (insert your own description here) you will be trading one set of complications for a different set of complications. At least for me, however, I think my complications are more gentle. There are the long hours of toil tending a vegetable garden.
There is the milking, birthing and caring for milk goats (including finding, purchasing and hauling feed and hay, washing up milking equipment, making, waxing and storing cheese.) This also includes times of sorrow when a baby goat is born dead and the mother is bereft and I am left to be her comfort.
I make all of our bread and cook nearly everything from scratch. We heat with wood from our own woodlot (fabulous!) but for my husband, that includes all the work of gathering, splitting and stacking wood, as well as tending the fire and taking out the ashes.
I do have an automatic clothes washer and dryer (...nice!) but still hang nearly all of my laundry up to dry, year round, since in the wintertime, I hang it near the wood heating stove. We are NOT off-grid, so I have all the usual electric conveniences. I believe I would be fully capable of living off-grid, but have no desire to do that. It would require even more work, and I have other responsibilities that take precedence. I am content to know that at least I *think* I know HOW to live off-grid. :)
My point? When I am out in the garden, crawling around pulling out weeds that can't be gotten with the tiller or a hoe, I love the feel and smell of the soil. I love seeing all the wondrous little creatures that inhabit that soil. I love hearing the birds in the trees. I love the feel of sunshine on my back. I love watching the amazing burgeoning life force all around me. When I am kneading a batch of whole wheat bread (I usually make 5 loaves at a time,) I feel the connection to all of the women that went before that did the same thing for their families. When I make cheese I feel like a magician! When I serve these wonderful homegrown and homemade foods to my family and friends, I have invested so much love into the whole process (even the washing up!) that it simply makes me happy.
To sit down to a lunch like I had today ~ 2 pieces of whole wheat toast spread with homemade mayonnaise, topped with a nice slice of goat milk cheddar cheese and a few fresh basil leaves, a small slice of fresh blueberry pie and a nice glass of fresh goat milk... I KNOW how blessed I am. I appreciate what I have and am grateful to God for this gently complicated life that I live.
I know that many, oh so many in the world are starving, suffering, oppressed, abused, lonely or sick. How do I accept my good "fortune?" "To whom much is given, much is required." I believe that the only reason to have more than we need is so that we can share and help others who need our help. I believe that we are given weaknesses to humble us. I believe that through those weaknesses, we can learn and grow, become stronger and of more use to others. At the same time, we are all given talents. It is incumbent on each of us to develop those talents, not only for our own well-being and enjoyment, but again, so that we can share and lift others and help them with their burdens.
If I waste my opportunities, if I squander my time, if I squander my health, or wealth, or capacity for love and nurturing, if I get distracted with useless activity, if I spend time viewing or reading or listening to things that tear me down emotionally or spiritually, if I, therefore, waste what I have been given, then I have much less to give to others and will leave this life having not helped others like I could have done and should have done. There is nothing so painful as regrets. We do, and will, all have some regrets. We are human. I like to try to live in such a way as to minimize my regrets.
May God bless you all to find and live your dreams.
This post is linked with Wardeh's Simple Lives Thursdays.