I’ve been thinking a lot about Simplicity. One of my Quaker foundations is built upon the living of a life that is simple–needing little, taking little, using little, being always aware of my actions as being “right with the world.” I’m constantly adding to my list of I Can Do Better. You know that list. Usually it has my mother’s voice somewhere in it, or at least my own voice to my children. Sometimes the simple way is the much harder way; and at other times, the simple way is well . . . simple.
Being Right with the World helps to provide me with the clearer choice. But it doesn’t always “fit” with being In the World.
Here one of my current dilemma’s:
Much of our world is at war over oil.
THEREFORE: Stop using so much OIL. Which translates into reducing the usage of oil and gas as much as possible. WALK. BIKE. Stay HOME. But the family lives across the Continent from me–should I never see them again? And if I do go see them, how do I use the least offensive transportation?
I should wear more layers in the house, to reduce heating needs. What’s reasonable? When I was younger I would cut the ends off of gloves and wear them in the house. But I seem to feel the cold more than I use to. My aunt who homesteaded in Alaska used her dog team to heat her log house. No, I won’t even go there. Can you imagine trying to decompose that much dog poop?
Baking and cooking take fuel. It would be better to cook a large batch of beans (how much oil does it take to add beef to the pot?) and not cook from scratch every day. I need to buy a WAVE oven (better for the environment and for me), but that means I would need to find a new home for my microwave, my oven and my toaster oven. Maybe I should forgo the WAVE for awhile, until at least something breaks.
My computer was slowly dying, so I decided to not wait until it “cracked,” and now I have a new computer with an older version in slow death throes. Should I have waited longer to buy the new computer? I don’t need two computers. And what about all that software that now has to be purchased, uploaded, updated, and the OMGosh–now I need a new printer and a new —–this isn’t going to quit is it? But if I’m to be In the World, I think I need to have a computer.
By now you’ve gotten the unvarnished version of what it is like to live in my not-so-discerning world of being SIMPLE. At the truth, I would have to say that I am unwilling, at this point in my life, to live a totally SIMPLE life. I give great credit for those who have been able to make that leap–into “nurtured poverty.” But alas, I’m not there. I suspect that I will continue to struggle, unwilling to give into what my soul knows is right, but my body and heart find difficult. Oh, John Woolman, did your wife live as Simply as you?
Be gentle with your needs, practicing simplicity as much as you are able.