‘Where did the simple life go?’ has been a question that I am sure each generation in humanity has asked since the very beginning. While we have contemporary challenges associated with our current technology, at its deepest level, this is a matter that the heart must contend with.
In one of the earliest stories in the Hebrew Scriptures we two people: Adam and Eve.
A simple read scan through their narrative, and it is safe to say that life was pretty simple for them right off the bat. Someone to love. Life in a garden. Nobody around to really bother them. Good food. Long days. All of the resources to satisfy their basic needs without a whole lot of effort.
Life was good.
A basic Sunday School memory of the story, and you know that all of that changed with quickness when temptation for ‘more’ of something that they didn’t really need sent their innocent condition spiraling down… down… down… to the point where every area in which they related to life around them got more and more complicated. The reality that being intimately connected with each other, their ‘self’, their God and their world was enough soon gave way to feelings of shame, isolation, separation, jealousy, rage, and ultimately violence.
The rest of the story in Scripture simply reveals how are hearts have, for better or worse, attempted to regain what was lost in that serene garden at the dawn of time.
So, what was wrapped up in that initial temptation of that couple in the story? Whatever it was should cause us to sit up and take note, because it tickled something in the life of someone who truly did have all they needed… no more… no less. They were the owners of everything that can’t be bought.
What was it that made them desire more of a good thing than what they already had?
This particular question took deep root in my by a statement made by one of our children. See, we are striving to be a couple who, in essence, returns back to that Garden of Eden the best we can while we have the time we have been given. In our hearts, simplicity is an idea to be unpacked in the day to day of our lives.
At a certain level, being simple is something that the kids tend to tease us about. ‘You two are so simple,’ has been a mantra for some time, and usually generates some chuckling amidst the kids at our expense. We think its funny, and have found satisfaction in the idea that the kids have picked up on this as part of ‘who we are.’
Recently, one of the kids added to the statement by saying, ‘You two are so simple, that its complicated.‘
My ears perked up to that one. Not only was that a great play on words (that made me proud), but buried into the tension of the contradiction in that statement was to me, the heart of the matter.