The sounds of simplicity.
I have been on a journey to simplifying over the last few years. Not only my physical schedule, though that has changed drastically, but also my mind and in my spirit. I got to the point a couple summers ago that everything just needed to stop. My adrenals were shot, my body was failing me. I wasn’t me anymore, because at all hours of the day worry swirled through every fiber of my being. I drove across the metroplex on a daily basis, and my lowest points were being stuck on the Dallas North Tollway at 4:30 PM trying to get back home on time to then make it to whatever evening commitments I had.
Life was a constant leg bounce. Know what I mean? When somebody is on edge and their leg is obnoxiously bouncing mindlessly under the table. That was me… always. I finally said “enough.” I quit my job in the city. I quit anything toxic that was filling me up, including friendships and ways of thinking. I quit trying to keep up with things that weren’t even who I was, but I felt I had to be. I quit trying to be like the other thousands of bloggers in Dallas, TX, and I pursued my own niche. We quit cable, and I quit watching the news every morning.
It was so freaking freeing. I don’t know how else to say it. *insert shoulder shrug here* It has been three years this week since that journey started, and dang it’s still an uphill battle. I mean, yesterday I had my first day to rest after what was arguably the craziest two weeks of Paul’s and my marriage, and I chose to lay mulch in the front flower beds rather than sitting. I don’t always nail rest, and I am always trying to figure out how to simplify, but gosh am I miles ahead of where I was.
Like I said, this past month truly has been the craziest month of my life quite possibly. I had to pep talk myself for the month of June as it inched closer in the final days of May. I pumped myself up the first week as we prepared Paul to leave for Africa, and I told myself I was going to be fine. The dialogue in my head was a little something like, “Oh my gosh, there’s no way I can do this… Hannah shut up. You can do this. Stop telling yourself anything else. You’ll make it. Oh my gosh I am never going to make it.” … back and forth, back and forth.
Know what’s funny, though? Despite this chaos of June- and believe me it was chaotic- I have never felt more alive in simplicity than I have in the last few weeks. I know, I know. It’s crazy. It doesn’t mean things weren’t challenging, I had a meltdown or two, but the purest forms of simplicity were put in front of me like a refreshing leap into a pool after a hot and sweaty run in the heat. Or like a PB&J at the waterpark with Cheetos. If you know, you know. You know- simply happy.
I got to spend 10 days back in my hometown while Paul was in Africa, and being home always yanks the realest self out of me. It reminds me who I am. It takes me back to a 16 year old self that exists inside of me who loved to dance around her room with her best friend to Taylor Swift and take night drives to the grocery store to pick up pints of Ben & Jerry’s. I spent my 26th birthday with my grandparents, daddy, and best friend with dinner at home telling stories until 10 PM at the table. Ah the sounds of simplicity.
Know what else is the sound of simplicity? Children in a remote African village who love every ounce of life, and don’t have but a care in the world as they sing songs in their sweet, high voices and dance. They love life, love Jesus, and love each other. Pretty simple. Pretty wonderful. I want that love for life. I envy their approach to simplicity.
The sound of simplicity is rain on the windows while the coffee maker drips a fresh brew into the coffee pot at your best friend’s house in the country. Looking out the window to see squash growing up the fence and chickens clucking around.
The sound of simplicity is silence. No TV, no emails dinging in.
The sound of simplicity is the turning of a page in a book you’ve been wanting to read, but just haven’t had the time to. Simple.
The sound of simplicity is falling asleep in your damp swim suit after a long day in the water while the fan clicks above you.
The sound of simplicity is a crappy cup of coffee at camp on the lake shore as the water hits the dock.
The sound of simplicity is 150 students singing the same worship song for 10 minutes in total surrender.
I was driving out to camp a couple mornings ago, a 35 minute trek I did every morning this last week, because Knox just couldn’t handle staying there and being out of his nightly and morning routine another week after 10 days away from home just the week before. (Simple doesn’t always mean easy… haha. You have to fight for simple.) But as I drove through the winding back roads to camp, I rolled the windows down and I actually felt a bubbling giddiness inside me. I thought to myself, “God, why am I so happy right now? I should be exhausted. I should be stressed out”…. But I thought to myself, “This is the good stuff. I could live like this for the rest of my life.”
When I allow simplicity into my life, I allow my truest self to come out. The Hannah who loves to free fall off the high platform at camp and slide down the waterslide. The Hannah who loves to sit and chat about life with her best friends for hours without much of a plan other than being together. The Hannah who would give anything to walk into a restaurant more often with family and see at least 10 people she knows. The Hannah who lays on the floor of her son’s room for two hours while he belly laughs and discovers crawling.
Simplicity is my site breaking for four days and not having a panic attack about it.
Simplicity is going to see The Incredibles with my husband and ordering chocolate chip cookies, because I can.
The sounds of simplicity. What are they for you? I hope whatever they are for you, you get a whole lot more of it. I hope you figure out a way to cut out noise, and get more sounds of simplicity into your life. There is nothing like the sound of simplicity.