Sunday, August 9, 2009


1 : the state of being simple, uncomplicated, or uncompounded

I am currently reading Gift from the Sea by Anne Morrow Lindbergh. Another book I read this summer referenced it and a dear friend read and loved it. I've only read about a chapter and a half of this slim volume, but Lindbergh's words are rich and her thoughts resonate with my heart.

In the second chapter, Lindbergh talks about finding a simple, beautiful shell formerly occupied by a whelk. This shell bore the mark of its creator in its beauty and simple utility. Unlike the shell, the author feels she is barnacle encrusted, dragging around unnecessary junk, instead of carrying only what she needs. She goes on to say that this is common for women, especially American women. We take on too much.

One reason my sabbatical this summer has been cleansing is that I took time to purge our home of unnecessary items. My youngest child starts kindergarten in less than a week and it was joyous to sell the crib that our three daughters nestled in, each in her turn. I was glad to shred papers from the first year of our marriage, when it cost less than $50 to heat and cool our small apartment. It was freeing to scrape off the barnacles of clutter in our basement and elsewhere in our home.

So how do I do this in our daily lives? How do I nurture A's love of dance through classes and make sure we have dinner as a family? How do I expose B to art, music and theater - how do I feed her creative soul - and still nourish our family with home cooked meals? How do I help K transition to kindergarten and thrive socially through dance and sports while protecting her need for rest and unstructured play?

How do I nourish my soul as I tend the seeds God has planted in the hearts of my daughters?

I don't know the answers to these questions, beyond the fact that I must consistently seek and pursue simplicity. I must model for my daughters the necessity of choosing the thing that makes their heart sing over the thing that clamors the loudest for attention.

It isn't simple to choose simplicity, but how can we hear the quiet, still voice in our souls if we are never quiet nor still?


aimee Guest said...

Did I hear that correctly? You reading ANOTHER non-fiction book? Knock me over with a feather :) When you figure out how to give everyone their wings, and provide the meals, and provide the quiet time, and write a book-PLEASE let me know! I'll sit here and eat some chocolate and wait :)

WordGirl said...

Aimee - Yes, that's right. More non-fiction. I need to do a quick count, but I think I may have read 5 (!) non-fiction books this year - all voluntarily, I might add.

I'll definitely get right back to you on how I solve the mysteries of the universe, including how to do all of these things...