I know this might be a blasphemous thought to people who like to live life big and fill every single moment with experiences and luxurious things that satisfy their pleasures and indulge their senses – and I’m not saying that there’s anything wrong with that at all if you can afford it and have the sensibility to manage it – but a simple life (Simple in the sense of a tolerant, considerate, moderate and confident but undemanding lifestyle. Please think carefully about each word.) makes simple pleasures so much more apparent and so special.
Let me give you a few examples.
The miracle of provision
I know that having food to eat every day is necessary and a blessing, but I love the joy of coming home and finding something to eat already prepared because usually, I have to worry and work at preparing it for myself and my family. And because there have been days when there was nothing to eat at all. In fact I appreciate more now the simple act of anyone cooking for me because I understand the effort that goes into it and the simple kindness of sharing what you have with someone else.
The beauty of consideration
I get such a warm feeling of gratitude when a person goes out of their way to do something kind for me because I know how hard it is sometimes to look beyond caring for yourself and your immediate family. I appreciate it even more when that person is a stranger, because to go out of your way to help a stranger is a small but significant sacrifice. It shows a kind of consideration that speaks well of human nature. It makes me think of the many days when I’m too preoccupied with my own problems to think of anyone else, and it makes me want to be more conscious of the people around me on those days and every other day.
The dignity of hard work
I feel such an uplifting and inspiring sense of awe when I write good words, or read a good book, or see a beautifully and carefully made thing, because I know that thoughtful, beautiful things are hard to find and even harder to make. I think of all the mental strain that goes into the things I write and design, and it make me want to put even more effort into the things that I write and design. It makes me want to fill the world with immaculately made things, because I want to give other people the joy of seeing and appreciating beautiful things.
The honesty of convictions
I got such an incredible shock of an irresistible thrill when I sat and thought about how intentional it was for my friend to share his baptism publicly: because I’ve experienced the painful truth that in this age making such a bold statement of loyalty to a creed like Christianity is not popular at all. It made think of the disappointment and loneliness I feel once in a while, and it makes me want to speak my thoughts and my love for God louder, because I realize now that there are people out there like me that need to be reminded that they’re not alone.
I don’t mean that we have to live a hard life to appreciate things, but I think that we should live a conscious and responsible one with no illusions or pretensions. I don’t ever want to be so entitled to life pleasing me or indulging my whims that I forget how to be pleasantly surprised, or deeply grateful, or immensely proud. And I think that the extra plus of feeling all those things (along with all the other beautiful things of a conscious and considerate life) is that they help me be a better ‘keeper’ of my family and my neighbours. Feeling those things helps me remember that other people deserve to feel them too.