Chris and I were doing our normal random conversation gig @ coffee break last week. I told him @ this point in my life “peace and quiet” are a high priority for me. I proceeded to quote something I’d written on an index card, which I have stuck on the dash of my truck..
Aspire to live quietly…to mind your own affairs…
He jumped in and finished it, “to work with your hands, so that you may command the respect of outsiders and be dependent on no one.”
Wow, I said..I’m impressed!
Turns out, when he took my truck to town earlier that morning, he read (and liked) that verse as well, and had already started putting it to memory.
If it were possible for you to crawl into my head and listen to the self talk that goes on behind the scene, you would discover I actively, (even ruthlessly?) guard and pursue some very basic and simple things in my heart and mind….
peace and quiet
It has not always been this way, and I would be the first to tell you, I have not yet arrived.
I am miles down the road from that season in my life where I thought it was my job to stay continually busy…especially in the arena of “christian” outreach and service. Youth group, men’s group, couple’s group, Sunday school, worship service, body life service, weekly Saturday work days. Yep, what I just described to you was a typical week in my life from 1985-1988…oh, and I forgot to mention, one day a week attending counseling classes @ CCEF, coming home at midnight to a wife and 2 small children, only to get up and go to work @ 6 AM the next day.
Someone compared my life to a gushing fire hose.
I still meet people on occasion who remind me of my younger self. People pleasing, adrenaline junkies, who confuse business and a packed calendar with a productive fruitful life.
Burning the candle on both ends in the name of “ministry” or career advancement is not a virtue. Might be a way to drown out the inner poverty, but definitely not a way to live life that I aspire to (anymore.)
Feel free to disagree and do otherwise. ;-)
side note- (Ever seen an apple tree grunt to produce fruit?…. – No, me neither)
At one point, Chris said , -”As the outer, so the inner.”
“What does that mean,” I asked?
I think it means, the ideal is for our inner life and our outer life to match. Not just look peaceful on the outside, but practically speaking experience peace on the inside.
(Now isn’t that a novel thought, I thought to myself)
I’ll close with a quote from the book The Anxiety Cure by Archibald Hart which also continues to shape the direction of my life :
“ You can’t escape the realities of our high-stress world. You certainly can’t turn back the clock to simpler times – although, I must confess, this is a wonderful fantasy that I occasionally indulge as a form of escape. I frequently reflect on the many happy childhood times I had with my grandparents. They lived a simple, country life. They were totally self-sufficient, tilling a small piece of land and raising their own food. ….With only a shortwave radio to connect them to the rest of the world, life seemed siple yet luxurious to me as a child. There was a sense of unhurriedness and simple pleasures. All the money in the world couldn’t buy such luxury in today’s world. It is not for sale; you have to create it.”
I’ll close with some random pictures from our home, which we’ve created since that painful fateful season in my life when I stopped confusing business with fruitfulness: