'Tis the gift to be simple, 'tis the gift to be free, 'Tis the gift to come down where we ought to be...
Simple Gifts, Shaker Hymn, 1848
I've always loved this hymn tune. The Shaker's, one of the first religious groups to participate in a communal lifestyle, believed practicing a life of simplicity was the key to happiness on earth, as well as eternal happiness in Heaven.
But life is never simple, is it? I've been trying to make a decision about my life, one that would actually simplify it greatly. Yet I'm constantly torn between doing what I know is sensible and logical, and following the desire of my heart. Not simple at all.
My life in general often seems much too complex, and yet I admit that when I don't have a lot going on, I feel restless, unfulfilled. In the midst of running here, there, and everywhere, I find a great deal of satisfaction in crossing items off a long "to do" list.
As with everything in life, balance and moderation are the key. The Shaker's, well known for their innovations in lifestyle, farming, and carpentry, went to extremes in their social practices. Procreation was prohibited in this religion, so, not surprisingly, there are no Shaker's left!
The key to life, simple or complex, lies in the last two stanza's of the hymn...
And when we find ourselves in the place just right,
'Twill be in the valley of love and delight.
For more Simple thoughts, look here