On Maria’s blog I found this most wonderful quotation, words of Lloyd Lee Wilson:
“The Simple Life is one in which there is always time to remember the Divine Purpose behind each of our tasks, time to listen for a possible Divine amendment to the day's schedule, and time to be thankful for the Divine Presence at each moment of the day.”
Watching the DVD No Greater Love (UK here) about the life of Carmelite nuns, I am intrigued by how slowly and with what care they do everything. With diligence, yes, and no dawdling. But, watching the sister plant peas in the vegetable garden, I am impressed to see her on her knees patting and preparing the earth, scrabbling and smoothing, using a measure to ensure the right distance between each pea – nothing of scrape a rough trench with a hoe, drop ’em in and hope they’ve got the right spacing. I watch the prioress applying wax to the chapel floor with a cloth on the end of a mop, mindfully and missing nothing – not obsessively, not fussily; it is as though the woman keeps her spirit contained within its own proper house, she does not give herself to her work – but she attends to it.
And I am finding that as the tide of objects and possessions and trinkets and ornaments and commitments and connections subsides, what’s left behind is a new alertness; the ability to focus and look deeply – a new confidence in seeing and recognising my stepping stones forward.
Correspondingly, I am finding myself increasingly unable to engage with complication of any kind. It exhausts and harries.
When I lived in Aylesbury, along the road from me I discovered a Quaker, Anne; she and I became friends. When we dug up the concrete slabs laid on the forecourt of our home to plant a garden, she brought me a campanula of such a sweet beautiful shade of blue – the perfect marriage of blue and green in uts flowers, its leaves; I can see it still, sitting as a sign of hope in the bare new-dug earth, alongside the lavenders we brought out of their pots from the back yard. And the bees began to come before we even had the lavenders in the ground! Anyway, Anne – she was a painter and loved to look, really look deeply, really see: and she would speak of taking time to see the wren on the fence; living life spaciously enough not to miss its wonder, its ordinary miracles. Where we live now there is a narrow footpath that runs through trees and between gardens down to the park, where often I hear the wren singing. And in our garden where the trellis has been put up ready for the passion flower to climb next spring, the wren will sometimes come, looking out bright-eyed to see if we have scattered crumbs on the roof of the woodstore. And then I think of Anne, painting her pictures, growing her garden, taking time to see the wren on the fence. And I send her and all the Aylesbury Quakers my love.
I have such a consuming hunger for simplicity in the everyday; it is not easy either to put it in place or maintain it. The tides of chaos beat against it wearing it away as the rough seas of the Channel batter relentlessly the harbour arm that safeguards the way out to sea of the Hastings fishing fleet. Patiently, ever again, simplicity must be rebuilt and extended, if I am to protect my way out to the open sea.
More earrings. These were harder to part with, because they were a birthday gift from the Badger. Very beautiful, such a lovely colour. But they are real glass and this made them uncomfortably heavy to wear as it turned out. I kept them a long while just admiring them. Now they have travelled on, hopefully to a lady whose ears are made of sterner stuff than mine.