Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Simple life - The Taize Way

I never thought of a fork, plate, or cup as distractions before. Forks aren't optional because food isn't optional! Cups are necessities to sustain life! Right? They don't cause unnecessarily noise in our lives, right?

I thought that Jarrod and I lived a pretty simple life. We drive ugly cars, don't have a house full of furniture, and basically just have what we need. We try not to waste much and don't like to throw things away. We are definitely blessed and have an abundance, but we try to live a simple life. At least, I thought we did.

When I went to Taize and realized how much we really have. Not in the mission trip sense. I've been on mission trips before and seen incredibly poverty. I know that I am incredibly blessed to have a roof over my head. The realization in Taize was different. I'm always thankful for clean water, but after Taize, I became thankful for forks.
Breakfast roll, butter, jam, and hot tea served on a tray with one large spoon. 
While in Taize, we ate very simple foods. For breakfast, we ate bread with butter or jam and a hot drink. There was hot water and you simply could add powdered tea, coffee, milk, sugar, or chocolate to the water. These were the only options. Breakfast was the same every day. Needless to say, Jarrod brought bars to eat because of his gluten-intolerance. We ate this food off of a tray in our laps. No tables. No plates. Just a cup for hot water and a big spoon to spread the butter. Each meal was similar - no utensils other than a large spoon, no plates, no cups, and very few options. Lunch and dinner were typically vegetarian and no-frills.
Lunch of apple sauce, a small cookie, cheese, lentils and carrots, and bread - mine and Jarrod's.
I love eating bread and was thankful for that staple in my diet. If I didn't want to eat anything else, I could eat a piece of bread with cheese and be incredibly happy. As a foodie and someone who finds such enjoyment in food, it's difficult to admit how happy I was with bread and cheese. I realized how little I needed to be happy.

Besides a fork, I am used to being able to use my cell phone. At Taize my cell phone was almost completely useless. I could receive texts for $.05 and send them for $.50 but the time difference made that challenging. Phone calls were too expensive to even entertain. No talking, no texting, and nothing that needed the internet or cell service - facebook, instagram, or the internet. The time was perpetually set to Texas time, so it didn't even work as a clock. I thought this would panic me.

It didn't.

I was calm. It was hard to be away from Wesley for sure, but there was a peace because there was less noise. Not just auditory noise, but distraction noise. Because life here lacked that noise, I was able to be completely present. I was able to sit in silence and reflect on life. Even in my "simple" life in Texas, there is a whole lot of noise. I'm working hard at removing some of these everyday distractions from my life to get back the peace I had in Taize.

But I'll probably still use a fork and will definitely be checking e-mail on my cell phone...at least every once and a while!

How do you find a simpler life?
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