Silence is a welcome guest this Saturday afternoon. I spent the morning changing sheets, cooking, cleaning then cooking and cleaning again. All my preparations for teaching Sunday school are completed.
Finally, I enjoy the silence of the afternoon, watching the warm breeze blow the lace curtains, the birds fly from here to there, the cottonwood tree wink at me. My thoughts come out from behind To-Do lists to play. Memories, stories and conversations past invite me to remember.
Money was always tight when my children were young. I sigh with a smile as I look back. Simplicity emerges crowned with gentle beauty and I recall mud pies in the back yard, hours spent painting rocks, a swing hung in the magnolia tree.
The television broke when Noah was a baby; we never replaced it. Every other Saturday we would drive to Port Townsend to go to the beach. The children would play in the sand or enjoy sometimes cold or windy walks on the trails.
Snacks were simple: chips and avocado slices or apples dipped in peanut butter. The long drive meeting the joy of the destination turned any food into a happy picnic. Occasionally, though, we would splurge on clam chowder and hot crab dip. Those were special times. The tea was savored and the children sat nicely knowing it was a privilege to enjoy such luxuries.
Birthdays tested our friendship because of my longing to celebrate full force. Tears blurred my vision of the few small bills and pile of coins spread before me. Just as Jealousy and Self-Pity were about to comfort, my beautiful friend, Simplicity, would blow in laughing joyfully at my riches.
A balloon tied to a chair and breakfast turned into a smiley face became tradition. Each member of the family took a quarter of the chalk board to create a personal message while the birthday child was loaded down with homemade cards rife with secret messages, riddles, mazes, or puzzles. Small presents wrapped and decorated with whatever could be found were oohed and aahed over.
I don’t know how she did it, but Simplicity had her way for years. With beaming smiles, a whole roll of lifesavers, a page of stickers, a simple toy became treasures to cherish.
Life is not so easy now. Simplicity is too quiet in these noisy days. Facebook, Pinterest, and “keeping up with the Jones's” clamor for attention and promise much more. Entertainment, Fashion, Camps, Classes, and Bucket-lists, so flashy and loud consume our time.
But, sometimes, twelve-year old Noah comes home content after a solitary walk in the morning air. Sometimes, the evening is spent in gentle hours reading aloud George MacDonald or Mark Twain. Sometimes, Grandpa visits and we sing southern gospel favorites or press Sophia to play hymns on her violin well into the night. The doors are locked, the lights turned off, and as we say, “Goodnight,” we add, “What a great time!”
I see Simplicity beaming with beauty, having gotten her way again. I’m glad for her friendship, a true gift from God.