Today I spent about 5 hours at a monastery in the Cincinnati area. I scheduled this time to be away, study, read, write and meditate, all things that I seldom have time for in the regular schedule of my week. I arrived this morning about 8:30 a.m. and was promptly greeted by one of the sisters who showed me to my quarters for the day. I was immediately taken back by the size of the space I was given to use. I was expecting a small room, from the pictures I had seen on the internet, something slightly larger than a bathroom. What I received instead was in essence, a small apartment, complete with two bedrooms, two bathrooms, a full kitchen, living room, t.v., all the essentials of a home. After showing me around and explaining a few basics, the sister let herself out and I was left in the silence with nothing more than the raindrops clattering on the windows.
Finding myself in a new space, I worried that I would struggle to focus. My day was supposed to be centered on reading, writing and prayer and I became nervous that I would spend a bulk of my time anxiously checking out my surroundings. As I scoped out the remaining doors and rooms that she had not opened I was struck by something more than just the size of the room. Although large in square footage, this space was extremely simple. A simple desk, simple love seat, simple table, simple kitchen, simple bathroom, simple hallway, simple t.v., simple everything.
As my day progressed it was as if God was simply reminding me that simplicity is all I need. Sometimes I, and maybe even you can spend so much of our lives pursuing the not so simple. We strive to have the latest and greatest, we pride ourselves on the detail and the connectedness of all of our devices, we love having over 1000 television channels but interestingly only watch about 10 of them. We long for vehicles that are somehow capable of doing more than simply transporting us from point A to point B. We work extra hours to afford houses that we don't have time to enjoy.
God calls each of us to a different lifestyle but what God has been revealing to me is that less is more. Don't get me wrong, I love my devices and I love my television but today was simply a reminder that I don't need any of that. Take it all away and I'm still here. My family is still here. Most importantly, God is still with me.