A great man once said that the zest of living is increased in simplicity. Yet, how often do we think it is just the opposite. Have you ever stopped to think about the things “you think” would make you the most happy? You see a huge house in the foothills and think, wouldn’t it be great if I lived there? Would it? How much space do you really need in a house? Oh, I’m not promoting the tiny shoebox either as there is such a thing as too little space. I’m talking about too much. My home has exactly 3,000 square feet of living space. During the holidays we have been known to actually go into the basement and stay there longer than 30 seconds. The rest of the year…not so much. So, what’s the point? That no-one should have 3,000 square feet? Haha hardly! The point is that the arrangement of the space (5 bedrooms) worked perfectly when we had four kids at home, but not so perfectly now that we have no kids at home. (Maybe that’s why it is for sale?) Okay back to the gargantuan house in the foothills. Do you know what you would do with that 10,000 square foot home? You would use approximately 25% of it and the rest of it would sit there as a testimony to just how successful you are. You see what you are really after is that symbol of success. But, to earnestly pursue it and then to pay $7,000 a month for it won’t seem to make as much sense. It seems much of life in the United States works this way. The large SUV in the driveway is more of status symbol than a practical form of transportation. I know this because it is almost too large for the garage; gets 12 miles to the gallon; has tires that cost $200 each and requires very large parking spaces. So, should everyone scale down their desires, get the condo and a Smart Car? Definitely not! My manhood wouldn’t let me buy the Smart Car even after the vasectomy! Haha. My (most likely lost) point here is that the beauty and enjoyment of life is ironically found in the simple and not in the complicated. Do you vaguely remember the old TGI-Friday’s menu? There were about 20 pages grouped according to certain themes. The problem was that there were so many options we didn’t know what to think. And, by the time I got to the salads I had long since forgotten what I was leaning towards earlier. “Ummmm…could you give us a few more minutes?” There is such a thing as too many options. Have you ever taken a close look at your closet? I’m guessing (see, I don’t even know) that I have about 25 pairs of pants. Wait that doesn’t include suit pants. (I digress) I also guess that I probably wear about 7 pairs on a regular basis. There are those jeans I like; those ‘cords’ I like etc. Towards the back there are all those pants I don’t like. Why are they there? LOL hmm who knows? Dieters have all heard the catchy slogan that says, “nothing tastes as good as the first bite.” How many times do we gorge ourselves trying to replicate the taste of that first bite? How many delicious entrées are available at the Thanksgiving Day feast? How many do you enjoy? And what about the desserts? By the time they show up I am a bite away from vomiting (smile). How about my beloved red wine? I’m standing at the kitchen counter, steaks are grilling outside, and people are starting to arrive for the dinner party. I pour a glass of Cabernet and have a few delightful sips. The “sparkle” of the wine kicks in and suddenly, God is good, life is good, and I couldn’t be happier. Then I finish my glass and have another and then another and then another. What happened to my sparkle? It is replaced by a numb glaze that I now must maintain the rest of the night. Is that what I was after? Not really. What I was after and am still after is the “sparkle” of the first glass. I think life is like that…Everyone seeking after the “sparkle” of those first, first experiences. (Again, I digress)
Everyone loves to go on a vacation right? What is the ‘oh-so’ glorious allure of a vacation? Well, for me when I go on vacation I like to go somewhere that is warm and preferably has a beach. And, of the multitude of things you could do on a vacation, what do I personally want to do? I want to go and sit down on the beach, read my book and enjoy a cocktail. Simplicity!
Happiness isn’t made in the many, it is made in the few. It is produced in simple enjoyment. A walk on the trail in the evening with someone who you love; sitting on the back deck basking in the sunshine with a great book; a hike in the canyon on your way to the waterfall; these are the things that inspire beauty and enjoyment in us. A single man boasts that he enjoys being with many different women and that he can have a new woman every night. Yet, how much happier will he be with one woman whom he loves and who loves him, that he gets to share life’s experiences with every day? You see we all think we require so much when in reality we require so little. We buy a new home and sit down for dinner with our little family and think to ourselves, could my life be any better? Yet, all that changed was the location and design of our residence. In the midst of the hCG diet there’s nothing quite so tasty and so grand as a gummy multi-vitamin. But, when eating returns to normal, our perspective changes dramatically.
All of us should seek to get back to the simplicity of life. Simplify our desires, simplify our tastes and enjoy the little things. At the end of life, no-one remembers the new car, the new house, the size of the bank account. What we remember is the smile on our daughter’s face when we told her how pretty and smart she is or how we proud we are of her for graduating from college. We recall the joy in the eyes of our son as he received his first offer to play Division One football, his lifelong dream. We think how could we ever love our second grandson as much as we love the first one, yet somehow we do. We acquiesce and joy that our oldest son faithfully takes his siblings under his wing and steers them away from life’s dangers.
Life is simple. Love God, love other people and rejoice in the beauty and enjoyment that is waiting around every corner for us when we look beyond the clutter and confusion of things and discover what life is really all about.