As anyone who has attempted to de-clutter their life knows, simplicity can be complicated. It involves tackling not only the accumulation of stuff—those bins of college syllabi, old magazines, childhood treasures—but extra tasks we’ve taken on, organizations we’ve joined, the demands other people make on us, and all the clutter in our minds.
Recently as I was walking the labyrinth our Friends meeting has constructed in an adjacent field, I found myself repeating a simple prayer: “You are my life. You are my life.” It was as though God was reeling me in, bringing me back to the basic simplicity of soul from which all else flows. I found myself asking, with the psalmist, “Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire beside you” (Psalm 73).
I felt God reminding me that simplicity begins in the heart. It flows from a life oriented to the source of all life, from the deep knowledge that in God alone we “live and move and have our being.” That’s basic to Christianity, yet somehow I keep forgetting.
As I walked that trail, I began to affirm, “Above all relationships and roles—spouse, parent, grandparent, friend, minister—you are my life. Above all I possess or hold on to for security—my home, my books, my insurance policies, my investments—you are my life. Above all the intangibles I cling to—my health, my education, my achievements, my talents, my rights, my dreams—above all this, you are my life.” And I found myself praying, “Oh Lord, let it be. Change my heart. Keep reeling me into yourself.”
I am sensing that only when I live from the center of a life oriented to God can I move out freely into the world as God’s agent of reconciliation and peace.
When will I start remembering this so much that I live by it? When will this attitude become a holy habit?
Prayer: “Take from our souls the strain and stress, and let our ordered lives confess the beauty of thy peace” (John Greenleaf Whittier).