Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Less is best

I think I'm finally feeling almost normal today. Christmas holiday, New Year's, extended vacations for my son and my husband, then a ridiculous cold front that caused more unplanned time off—all that mayhem has meant no time for me to enjoy the silence and build up my introvert reserves. Even today was tarnished by yet another school delay. I love my son, but when we can't even step outside for fear of frostbite...? Enough.

At this moment, at last, I am flourishing in stillness. The swish of the washing machine in the basement is the only sound to accompany my tapping on the keyboard. Blissful. Soon, the symphony of rushing heat from the vent will start again, offering a variety in my minimal auditory stimulation. Perhaps I'll turn on some music in a little while, but not yet. Not yet.

I visited Macy's recently (an item to return, an unused gift card—these are the things that are required to get me into the mall). I stood in that vast space dedicated to consumer culture, and I gaped at the innumerable items around me. Modern, classic, work-out, work-wear, young and hip, old and proven. And that was just the petite section of women's clothing. Are you kidding me? How's a person supposed to choose from such a plethora of options? I don't have the energy to narrow down the categories. At least, I don't want to expend my precious energy doing something so pointless for very long. I know I've written about this before, the ludicrously large number of choices we have when purchasing anything, and I'm still wound up about it. More and more, I love thrift stores. Now I can add this reason to the list: fewer choices to have to make. Limited options simplify my life; too much of anything is not pleasing.

I can carry that argument back into the Christmas season, which finally limped out the door while I kicked it and hollered with glee. I love Jesus, yet I despise a lot of Christmas. And you know why? Because there is too much of everything. Think about it. Too many parties, too many dinners, too many cookies, too many responsibilities and gifts to buy and people to remember and time off and even too much red wine. Excessive revelry, even excessive fellowship, makes me antsy and short of breath, eager only to retreat.

So, I grasp with new depth why I steer clear of Macy's and places like it, and why I sing joyfully to myself as I take down the Christmas decorations. It's not just a new year, or even a new start that lightens my heart.

It's the promise of LESS.

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