Simplicity does not necessarily mean a cabin in the woods (especially since a cabin in the woods is not always possible).

I believe simplicity is finding the One in all.

Yes, it is to find His face in beautiful people and His hand in beautiful things—but also in the ugliest people and the ugliest circumstances. How is this? Simplicity is the ability to look beyond the complexities that evil births to find what is good (and true and beautiful). And is not every person intrinsically good, created in God’s image? Can goodness not also be found in suffering? After all, did not Christ suffer to gain our salvation—a very great good indeed? All we need do is tear away the vines that hide the good: no matter how unaccommodating your boss may be, simply love him. No matter how demanding your job may be, simply acknowledge that you can do all things through Christ who strengthens you.

Simplicity does not mean shunning every pleasure (such as a cookie or a new sweater), but simply being grateful to the One who is generous. Simplicity is desiring nothing, but also refusing nothing, as Saint Francis de Sales wrote. It is to receive everything He desires you to receive.

I live in a house that often smells of bacon and bread. We make goat cheese here, and homemade pizza, and heartwarming soup, and goodies too. Many insightful conversations unfold as we chop up this or mix up that on the wooden countertops, the dogs sprawled on the braided rugs beneath our feet. 

My bedroom curtains are white, the old window panes marbled with moisture, and the light falls on me in milky droplets in the morning. My feet touch down on a thick sheepskin rug when I crawl from bed. Often I find kittens curled up on my blankets. Four children hug me goodnight. 

As I drive over these hills in the darkness, windows glow like honey, and mist overflows from the hollows. As I walk through the woods, eagles call to each other. Amber-colored rivers slip by with nary a sound. Winter may be here, but still the ferns cling to the earth, to their color. If this island were enchanted, I know I would never escape.

Charlottetown welcomes me into its streets with lights and evergreen boughs and friends. And when kindred spirits and I break free from the city to the dunes, we dig our feet into the sand and tilt our faces to the sky. We are bedazzled by the Royal Jewels and cannot help but cry aloud, “May we keep them, God?” Ocean breezes whisper in reply, “They are yours . . . “ And I know they are. 

Beautiful things every day, beautiful things I truly do not deserve (if human, who does?)—but still He gives, softening the way of the cross with moss beneath my feet. Sometimes it is difficult to receive these blessings because I find myself asking, Why me? How should I respond to His love?

Simply, live fully the life He desires me to live.

That’s it. That’s simplicity.

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