In-Sight: Return to Simplicity

When my grandmother became old, her appetite changed.  She stopped eating widely from the food pyramid and enjoyed having a PBJ sandwich.  In fact, she preferred it.

My father and his sister responded as you would expect her children to do–they became concerned she was not eating right and did their best to insure she ate her veggies.  I actually remember one day when they virtually force-fed some green beans down her as she complained and made a face of protest.  I am almost certain that when we returned home from visiting her, she went back to her PBJS.  Her return to simplicity was actually a choice.

As I enter into my elder years, I have more appreciation for my grandmother.  I no longer believe she was neglecting herself; instead, she was expressing herself and her increasing desire for simple fare.  Two pieces of fresh white (not whole grain) bread with some peanut butter and jelly spread on them was a good meal–and all the more so with a cold glass of milk to wash it down.

I find myself moving in the direction of simplicity, not only in terms of physical food, but also spiritual.  I am growing more content to hold the Bible, reading it slowly and quietly than I am to “hunger” for some place to go preach or teach.  I am more comfortable with questions as I discover that so much of life must be lived without answers.  I prefer a quiet place to a noisy sanctuary.  Decibles no longer define my spirituality.  Gestures are not required for godliness. I appreciate the ultimacy of Mystery more than the undue pressure to try and explain it.

Not surprisingly, some people worry about me, like my grandmother’s children worried about her.  Some folks want me to eat their way, and don’t know what to do with me when I make a face of protest.  But like my grandmother, I know my return to simplicity is a choice.  And like her, I find that God’s PBJS tastes mighty fine.  Yum!

About Steve Harper

Retired seminary professor, who taught for 32 years in the disciplines of Spiritual Formation and Wesley Studies. Author and co-author of 42 books. Also a retired Elder in The Florida Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church.
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3 Responses to In-Sight: Return to Simplicity

  1. How many times I used to scratch my head because I just didn’t understand my grandparents and my parents. But now I find myself saying more and more, “I get it”. God bless you for this beautiful way of expressing our sentiments.

  2. openlife72 says:

    Beautifully said. Perfect timing on this post and glad to know we won’t have to force feed you. 😉 xxoo

  3. Tom Pope says:

    Steve, this piece has touched me more than most you have written. I, too, have been finding simplicity in a complicated,”eat your vegetables” world. The “word” God gave me for 2015 is “simplify.” Recovering from rotator cuff surgery has helped me in this endeavor. I have another eight weeks before I can resume things like golf, or riding my motorcycle. The lessons I’m learning through this time of forced inactivity has been great for my spirit-life.

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