Many of you may be familiar with the once popular reality TV show that was called The Simple Life. It featured Paris Hilton and her BFF Nicole Richie. They would travel to the more rural areas, at times, and experience life outside of the Gucci and Prada set.
Now, I have been to, and pass through, Arkansas quite often, a place the TV show also visited. But nothing is as truly “simple” as the areas where you find the Amish folk.
My mother loves to devour any fiction book that features the Amish in its theme, so, when she was visiting me once, I figured it would be fun to take her down to the Amish community a few miles away.
I can tell you, there is nothing quite like the beauty of those gorgeous horses elegantly trotting down the lane as they pull those sweet carriages. Sitting inside are very quiet, composed riders. If you are fortunate enough to catch a quick glimpse as they pass, when you look at their faces, it appears as if their thoughts are miles away, while their ride methodically makes its way through town. It is in a way a poetry in motion of its own. I could sit and watch those and similar scenes over and over again when I am in “their” neck of the woods.
As we spent some time at the produce auction, we watched the barefooted little boys in their straw hats and their blue shirts as they downed cans of Coca Cola.
The teen-aged boys huddled in a back corner off to the side. And I bet you money they were talking about girls in those hushed tones that we heard wafting over the warm breeze. Men huddled, negotiating prices and quality, while the women, in their dresses, stayed on the other side the of the building minding the little ones.
When we headed out to leave, we decided to take a drive down the dirt roads and past their homes. This was when we noticed that it was laundry day. “Wash on Monday” as the old saying goes. That made sense. Sabbath was over and it was time for a fresh new week. Gardens needed tending, food needed preparing. What they had done last week, they would begin anew during this one. They knew the drill. Season after season after season. There is something soothing about simplicity and routine.
It got to me. “Why do we feel the need to be so busy?” And, more than that, I got to thinking, “Why do I need so much stuff?” These people are truly of the “…with food and clothing, with these we shall be content” crowd. It was at the least – inspiring.
I don’t know about you, but the more I am around money, or those who have it, I find that I too need, well, more. Why? I have no idea. I have food. I have clothes. But suddenly I feel that I need that special new handbag or that condo at the beach. However, when I step away, even for a short time (like I did for those few hours that day in Amish Country) to where the simple life is led, it’s amazing the perspective that comes washing over me. These people require very little. And their lives seem healthy and whole. Perfect? No. But there’s something to be said for the simple life, I’m just sayin’.
Tell you what, if we find ourselves stressing and straining this week over the “don’t haves”, let’s agree to pause, if you will, and ask ourselves three things: Do we have clothes? Do we have food? Do we have a roof over our head? If you and I can answer “yes” to each of those questions, for today, I’d say we’re doing pretty good.
Just my thoughts.