Joan Chittister on Simplicity

I love this woman.  She blesses me richly every time that I sit with her–a woman of God and a woman of wisdom.

One of her books was on a second-hand shelf recently.  That purchase needed no debating or justifying.  Sold!

To be quite honest, this book (entitled “Becoming Fully Human”) strikes me as a bit of mish-mash of bits of writing that perhaps had no other home, so they were crunched into this piece and bound together with a cover and a title.  Despite that, it’s still a a treasure to me.

Her opening chapter is about simplicity, which she admits is anything but simple.  In fact, she questions whether much of Christianity’s talk of simplicity has been more accurately talk about deprivation.  And to boil down simplicity to nothing grander than deprivation is indeed a terrible trade.

She then unloads several pages of quotes on the topic.  For your journey, I bring you the best…

  • “Simplicity is a talent for going with the flow in life.  When we have to affect our simplicity–plan it, impose it, strategize it–we’re in real trouble.”
  • “Life is not simple.  There is no controlling it, no shaping it in the style of a slower, calmer, idyllic world–long gone, if ever here.  Instead, we need to learn how to deal with our complexities with simplicity.”
  • “Simplicity of life is more ‘the habitually relaxed grasp‘ than it is life without gadgets.” (My two cents: If the two happen to coincide with each other, so be it.)
  • “Simplicity of life is the ability to handle with single-minded unity of soul and serenity of heart whatever life brings.”

Warning: The next one is a zinger.

  • “When we handle our own life schedule very well because we refuse to have our own priorities interrupted by anyone else’s needs, is that simplicity of life?”
  • “We live a simple life when we do not pretend to be something we are not.”
  • “Simplicity is an attitude of mind that enables us to stand unimpeded by the seductiveness of the unnecessary and the cosmetic.”
  • “Simplicity is the openness to the beauty of the present, whatever its shape, whatever its lack.  It enables us to be conscious of where we are and to stop mourning where we are not.”
  • “There is no simplicity in a heart full of agitation and in a soul too distracted to recognize the one who is among us, yet invisible in chaos.”

There you go.  I hope that simplified everything.

Or at  least fueled you for another mile.

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