What I KNOW – Things Complicate Life

Maybe it’s just me, but online shopping complicates my life more than it simplifies it. I guess I’m just not good at it. More times than not, I end up returning most of what I buy because it’s not what I thought I was getting, I receive defective merchandise, or I just come to my senses.

My shopping tends to go in cycles. I can go a long time without the urge to purchase, then I get discontented with my wardrobe or my surroundings or I decide I’m going to become a master gardener or self-made handyman, so I get online. Inevitably, I purchase items that won’t work because I neglected to notice some minute detail, or they’re missing parts, or I forgot I’m short and thought I’d look like the model.

Yesterday, I was in line at the Amazon return counter at Kohls. I was on my second return of lightbulbs for our new chandelier. (When did buying light bulbs necessitate an engineering degree?)

The line was six people deep. There was a sweet young mother at the front of the line with a large wagon full of packages, a toddler underfoot, and a baby strapped to her chest. Things were going as well as could be expected until the reception on her phone went out, so half way through her returns, she could no longer call up the barcodes that the attendant needed to complete the transactions. She remained relatively calm through it all and stepped out of line to let the rest of us go ahead. Luckily everyone else in line was patient and sympathized with her. It could have been a lot worse.

As I stood there taking it all in, I thought to myself how things have complicated our lives. All these things that are supposed to make life easier make it more complicated. They suck the ease and simplicity out of life.

I’m craving ease and simplicity in my life these days because I know simplicity brings joy.

I started pondering the times in my life when I felt the joy of simplicity. One memory popped into my head and just thinking about it brought me such a sense of calm and joy.

One summer, when I was in middle school, my cousin Janet and I spent a week with her grandma and grandpa. Grandma and Grandpa Hesselink lived in Cedar Grove, Wisconsin which seemed like a world away from my home in the Chicago suburbs.

I still remember vividly waking up in the small bedroom in the attic, hearing the birds, and feeling the warm breeze on my face as I peeked out the window and watched as her grandparents went about their morning chores.

We came down to a breakfast of homemade bread with fresh strawberry jam that didn’t come in a Flintstones glass and for supper we went out to the garden and picked a corn cob off the stalk. There was no TV and lots of games and stories.

Grandpa Hesselink embodied simplicity. He always wore overalls, even on the rare occasion when he came to Chicago for family get togethers. And at some point, during those get togethers, he would sneak up and slip a one-dollar bill in my hand and tell me to buy myself a treat.

We stayed in touch and even wrote letters to each other when I was in college. I came across one of those letters last week. After recounting his trip to the hospital where, “They cut my shirt and underwear offen my back sos not to have so much pain.” He went on to say that, “They thought I had a heartatackt but the pain is over now so all I can do is to thank the Lord for lending out his healing hand.”

He also included a prayer (see below) and an added column of comments next to the prayer that ended with words that brought tears to my eyes.

I KNOW things complicate life and that God wants us to have ease and simplicity. Lend out your healing hand to us Lord so we can know the joy of simplicity.

What do you KNOW?

Till we meet again Grandpa Hesselink,

Joan Carey, Firstfruits executive director, is an author and speaker with a passion for helping women grow in their relationships with God. Her Ponder This book contains a series of modern day parables sure to get you thinking about and seeing our extraordinary God in our ordinary experiences. Joan invites you to use resources on this website for daily reflection in your journey to grow in God's loving care for you.
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