‘What does love look like? It has the hands to help others. It has the feet to hasten to the poor and needy. It has eyes to see misery and want. It has the ears to hear the sighs and sorrows of men …… That is what love looks like.’ - St. Augustine

Monday, April 23, 2012

Simplify, Simplify

'Our life is frittered away by detail....simplify, simplify.'

So says Henry David Thoreau, and I.

I have been struck lately by the absolute absurdity of modern day life. We have travelled thousands of upon thousands of years of evolution to arrive....here? Today God has knelt down long enough to remove the scales from my eyes. I have spent the past month pondering and mulling and contemplating and examining. I have sat in silence for hours on end. I've walked the woods until dusk. I've listened to the birds and, when they were silent, the air. I've thought and thought and emptied my mind of all but essentials. And I still have nary an answer, but this -- simplify.

My life has not made sense to me lately. The constant buzz of life ringing in my ear like a mosquito you can't catch, cant see, in the quiet of your room in dead of night. You want to silence it, but you just can't seem to catch it. Each minute detail of each minute task in each repetitive day feels like a nail in a coffin. Why all the chatter? Why all the constant buzz and bustle? What clamor, whir and uproar? It's deafening, this modern day life. It is soul-killing.

Jesus spent a good chunk of his life is solitude. Even in the midst of his teaching years, he was always carving out time to be alone. Siddhartha sat under the Boddhi tree for forty days, listening to the cry of the world, before compassion drew him back to man and men. Every wise soul who walked this earth finds it imperative to step out of it for a time. Truly, how can a soul grow without the waters of solitude to feed it? And so I am trying to carve out some silence in the bedlam of this present 'now.' I have lost the ability to hear my own self think, let alone the voice of my God. Let alone the voice of any true thing.

Nastia and I spent two days up in the mountains this week. The rush of quiet was like a long cold drink on the hottest of days. I sucked up every inch of quiet the woods and the mountains had to offer. I drained them dry. I ate up the sound of birds calling and water rushing over river rocks. I lapped up the scent of fir trees and mountain wind. I held my daughter's hand and walked miles and miles into the wilderness until we were lost. Being lost is a magnificent thing. We embraced it with childlike joy. We breathed in God.

I am unplugging as best I can. I'm leaving the vapid, insular world of facebook for a time. I've cut out the news, printed and televised. I've tossed magazines and needless conversations into the trash. I've deleted old, unnecessary contacts and decaying half-friendships. A much-needed untethering.

I'll still write here while I'm embracing a deeper solitude. I can control what comes and goes on this blog, so it's not a burden like so many other forms of communication these days. I want my connections with others to be a form of communion. If it's not, then it must go. I want authenticity in all my interactions. If it cannot be authentic, then what purpose does it serve?

Life is very short. Tomorrow we will be gone. If this life is sacred, then why would we want to spend one minute of it being or doing anything that is not of our highest and purest selves? It boggles my mind -- this incessant do, do, do, talk, talk, talk, chatter chatter chatter. I want the deepest well of quiet. I want to hear the quiet, nearly-silent stirrings of God in things. I want to hear His scratching on my soul...those tiny imperceptible chafings of His fingers, doing their work.

The world is too loud, and I am far too ignorant to hear Him through it, without this Herculean effort of weeding and culling out every last unnecessary thing. And so I do.


  1. Anonymous12:01 AM

    I think God is calling us all to more reflection and listening lately. Enjoy the buzz of the world around you, may you hear God's heartbeat.

  2. Anonymous7:00 AM

    Thank you Keri for this wonderful reminder. I have been struggling with some decisions in my life and I prayed last night that God would give me a clear answer on one big issue. When I awoke this morning I was thinking of this blog entry I had read yesterday. Life is too complicated and what I was contemplating doing would have only added to my personal craziness. As I walked the dog, Simplify, just came into my mind. I knew then that I should NOT do what it was I was thinking about doing. It only had to do with "stuff" and not the important things in life. Thank you Jesus for answering my prayer and thank you Keri for being the vehicle for Jesus to use! Debby_in_MA

  3. So beautiful! I am heading that same direction! <3

  4. Great post! Keri, you said so eloquently what I have also been thinking about and trying to do lately - simplify.

  5. Beautiful post. Resonates with me as well at this point in my life.


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