I’ve spent much of the past 7 months simplifying my life. That should be qualified by saying that I was not all that complicated a person to begin with. From a certain perspective, perhaps none of us really are. Simplification in the sense that I am talking about is removing the ‘functional’ pieces of my life that were present merely to fill the void where a sense of purpose belongs.
As I write that, it dawns on me that even the word ‘purpose’ has been saturated in recent years by a vision that ‘things’ (activities, possessions, degrees, promotions, etc…) can lead to fulfillment. So I will break this down for clarity.
Things have a function.
It is nature that leads to purpose.
Saying that, there has been an intentional effort on my part to purge the ‘functional’ areas of my life down to a bare minimum, and allow myself to be absorbed in the nature and purpose of the relationships around me. It has been a journey, sometimes resembling the breaking of an addiction. In the moment when silence grows so loud, and the urge to create some noise with facebook or some other vice can distract me from the emptiness that has been created by years of moving from one thing to the next, I can feel my soul cry to be known by another.
How much of our life is filled with distraction… that we allow in?
Discovering nature and purpose, especially when removing the functional things of our lives begins (and returns back to often) with simply allowing yourself to just ‘be’ and to listen when the silence grows deafening. When the uncomfortable moment between two people who are attending to nothing other than absorbing each others presence triggers the thought, that ‘we should be doing something’… you must absorb just a little bit longer.
As parents, we do our children a dis-service by buying into the idea that we can’t allow them to ‘get bored’. Entertainment then becomes a thing in our homes that has a function to keep the little ones active.
Just past the point where you feel that some’thing’ needs to be ‘done’… there is a breakthrough in your nature. The purpose for that moment manifests itself, with no effort on your part. This is a moment of grace, that you will experience either on your own, or with someone you love… and then you know how to move on.
Recently, while sitting in an old wicker bench with someone dear to my heart, I began to think that we had been sitting looking over a lake for quite some time. No words had been spoken. A view of a nearly forgotten lake, squirrels running to and fro, mommy and daddy birds making the trek from their nest to a food source for their babies were the landscape for quite a bit of silent time.
I thought, ‘should I break the silence?’
Is their an element of ‘boredom’ that is going to need to be addressed with the introduction of some activity?
Instead, I chose to sit a while longer. It was then that a wind came from the south. I could feel it blow around us, and fill my ears with the comfort of white noise. My eyes closed, and I rested just a bit longer until it died down and I looked over at my friend who had turned her head towards mine.
“Nice wind,” I said.
She looked at me, with a smiling nod, and responded “mmhmm.”
It was a moment of grace that provided a deeper purpose for our friendship. One that did not cost us anything. One that did not require us to do anything. One that only invited us in to a place of belonging… to the world around us… to ourselves… and to each other.