The Odd (Simple) Couple

Just before dozing off last night, I realized that Fred and I have become that virtuous (or cantankerous?) old married couple who goes to bed at 7:30 p.m., and is … well, odd. We’re vegetarian; we have no TV and no microwave. Yes, we’re that couple.

Virtuous, cantankerous, odd, or otherwise–I have seen notable differences in our household since we returned from India over one month ago. It seems our extrinsic voyage has given us tools on how to live simply in America.

A few examples:

  • We go to bed early–usually no later than 8:30 p.m. (this is a habit we began at the ashram).
  • We rise early. Fred gets up at 4:00 a.m. (yikes!) and I roll out of bed at 5:30 a.m. Fred does his seva (service) and I read, pray, and write.
  • We’re mindful. When we shop for groceries and household items we buy only what we need–no hoarding.
  • We walk more. Fred avidly explores the Triangle’s greenways (I’ve invited him write a guest post on all the nifty paths he’s found–stay tuned).
  • We have new focus and dedication to our interests. In particular, we’re exploring writing on interfaith topics and we’re attending an interfaith discussion group.

I was struck by today’s reflection from Common Prayer (Zondervan: Claiborne, Okoro, and Wilson-Hartgrove). It helps encapsulate why Fred and I have stuck to our new rituals of simplicity:

British evangelical John Stott has written, “Simplicity is the first cousin of contentment. Its motto is, ‘We brought nothing into this world, and we can certainly carry nothing out.’ It recognizes that we are pilgrims. It concentrates us on what we need, and measures this by what we use. It rejoices in the good things of creation, but hates waste and greed and clutter. It knows how easily the seed of the Word is smothered by the ‘cares and riches of this life.’ It wants to be free of distractions, in order to love and serve God and others.” (Order Common Prayer here.)

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