The Gift of Simplicity

One of my favorite passages of Scripture is the 23rd Psalm. Early in my faith journey I had trouble understanding the concept espoused in the opening verse: “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.” For the life of me, I couldn’t grasp how anyone could say that they didn’t want anything. But of course, I eventually realized that what the psalmist was saying is that because the Lord is our source we needn’t lack any good thing.

And it is that concept that has become a hallmark of my faith ever since I comprehended its meaning. As we trust God to provide for our needs, we can rest in the gift of simplicity that comes with the faithfulness of God. I was reminded of this as I walked the streets of Nantucket during the holidays and realized that I didn’t need or even want anything that was for sale. It was a liberating feeling to say the least.

When a friend of mine heard of our radical downscaling this year she wrote to share similar news: “We continue to scale back. It’s so freeing. (Christmas is such a joy when you have absolutely no shopping to do!) We live quietly and simply, but our lives are still full—full of the things we love and not excess stuff we have to maintain.”

Along such lines, I love a quote from Socrates: “How many things are there which I do not want.” And a line from a Quaker hymn perhaps captures it best: “‘Tis the gift to be simple, ‘tis the gift to be free.” Amen to that! And while the holidays are history, the present is a good time to unwrap the gift of simplicity. It is the gift that keeps on giving!