I’ve taken to driving the back roads lately. I love the late summer/early fall in the Panhandle and driving the dusty, ridged dirt roads between point A and point B in my day is the best way for me to experience the lush corn and cotton fields, the bar ditches full of wild sunflower and the gentle, sunlit breezes coming in the car window.
Often as I pass the neat farmhouses set back from the roads, I feel a lurch in my stomach. Is it homesickness for the way I remember growing up? Or a longing for what could have been? Mourning for what I imagine my kids are missing? You see, as I drive by the neat, shaded homesteads with barns and equipment neatly aligned and animals properly homed, I picture/smell/hear/feel the rhythm of animals and family fed just after dawn, chores done and house clean, baked goods and family meals, fresh laundry and crisp lawns, bright flowerbeds and abundant gardens, cozy snuggles and reasonable bedtimes. I ask myself, ‘If that were my home, what would I be doing right now?’
I wonder at the imagined quiet.
I long for the fantastic simplicity.
Now I’m not a total dunderhead. I know that inside each of those idyllic-seeming farmhouses is a family with annoyances and problems of its own. I think I’m just homesick for a more ordered, peaceful life. A life that provides a safe, comfortable haven for my family. A life in which we don’t all feel this constant exhaustion and the press of things undone. In her Bible study Becoming a Woman of Simplicity, Cynthia Heald perfectly describes my current life, saying, “Often the demands and challenges of each day spill over into weeks and years lived all too quickly, leaving us spent and sighing for rest, for quiet, for simplicity.” (emphasis mine)
In that same Bible study, one of the questions asked is what, for me, would the green pastures and quiet waters of Psalms 23 look like. Okay, now that’s a hard one. That’s the equivalent of ‘what would you do if you won the lottery’ only on an eternal scale!
So my vision of heaven has always been of a giant oak tree standing on a hill sloping toward a warm, tree-shaded fishing pond. Under the shade of the tree stands an enormous trestle table heaped with food, as men, women and kids of all ages dressed in white walk through the tall grass and wildflowers to bring more. It’s your basic Sunday church picnic from a hundred years ago. The light is hazy, the breeze cooling, the fishing good. And the Host is everywhere and we are all attuned to Him, praising/thanking/glorifying with our voices, our hands, and our love for one another. That’s my green pastures and quiet waters.
But here, pre-heaven, my green pastures and quiet waters are gonna look a little different. So let’s see, what do I want? What does peaceful, simple living look like for KC in 2017? My first answer went a little like this:
- clean house
- fed family
- financial peace
- more time with family and friends
- more empty space on the calendar
My second answer came from bff, who says it’s all about being content whatever the situation because you know God is in control. Which got me to thinking a little deeper, so my third answer looks like this:
- I want to focus only on the important Thing and let the rest fall away. Green pastures.
- I want to be content in and constantly seeking God’s will. Still waters.
2 Corinthians 11:13: “I am afraid that, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness (i.e. keeping up with the Jones’s; constant involvement- even in the good things; day planners, list-makers, and lifestyle apps of all ilk; etc.), your minds will be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ.”