Sometimes I long for a different pace of life—a simpler life. I long for a life in which TV doesn’t exist and an evening still consists of a family gathering together to read poetry out loud or to tell fairytales to children. I long for a life where there are no video games to sap our time, and where there is no yelling in the house for children to clean up or for children to be quiet. I long for a place where children can spend time outside without needing to be under direct supervision for fear or bullying or abductions. I long for a time and place in which life is sweet in it’s simplicity—where the beauty of a sunny day and the song of birds in the bush can bring a smile to one’s face. Life in the big city is not so.
Small pleasures in life are punted aside by distractions. I confess that while I say I’ve given up TV, this weekend I lapsed and watched copious amounts of episodes online between Friday night and Saturday. And you know what? It’s been a bit of a crappy weekend. The weekends I enjoy most are those with no TV, no video games, no movies. The weekends I enjoy most consist of a warm cup of coffee and a crossword; a warm cup of tea and a letter written to my grandparents; the couch drenched in a stream of sunlight and me curled up with my latest book; playing around in the kitchen working on recipe development; going for a walk outside and enjoying the weather; an evening of board games with friends; or time spent at the local museum learning something new. Small pleasures.
Part of me would love to run a boarding house. To take in students at the local university, provide them with a hot breakfast in the morning, a warm meal in the evening, and a clean, safe environment in which to live. I long to live in a community when Christ’s call to respect one another is heeded and not punted aside by cares of the day, a place where a clean home is a happy home and where relationships are cultivated in a healthy way. I would love a home with a bit of land that allows for summer games of bocce and outdoor barbecues.
But that is not my life. My life is lived in a messy house. My roommates can’t seem to keep the place clean if their lives depended on it. Their kids are constantly wining and complaining, and the parents whine and complain in return. There is the occasional bout of yelling or crying. The kitchen, like the rest of the house is a perpetual mess and I often hide out in my room. Yesterday, one of my housemates commented that I had three months to go in school, and what would it take me to stay after the fact? I could have laughed. I don’t know that anything could make me stay at this point—at least not in this house. This home is not a haven. I wouldn’t mind remaining part of the community, but I certainly couldn’t live in any of the communal houses we currently have. They’re all a chaotic mess all the time, both literally and figuratively. No, I would need a place on my own, or maybe with one or two others who share my love of a healthy environment in a mental, spiritual, and physical sense. I suspect though that my remaining time in this community will be limited to three months. I suspect that after that time I will return out west, although there is a certain temptation to go south across the lake or east into the maritimes. But regardless of where I go, I plan on cultivating that simplistic life. I may even go back to having a home without internet. That would force me to frequent local coffee shops to get on the internet and help me develop relationships within my neighbourhood. And isn’t that what we’re called to as Christians? To get out of our bubble and embrace those living around us? To get to know and become and integral part of our neighbourhoods? To take a vested interest in people as a complete form, not just their souls? Thoughts continue to arise in my mind this Sunday morning. It gives me hope for the week ahead after a rather crappy weekend. It also reminds me that I need to finish that dishcloth I’m knitting. Right. I’m off to live the simple life! Hopefully I don’t get suckered into the TV episodes that I so frequently get tempted to download onto my computer! Maybe I’ll go for a walk by the lake. Considering how close it is, I don’t take advantage of it often enough.