Recently I read Julie/Julia. (Unfortunately, though I loved the writing, I can’t recommend it because the language was atrocious. It’s sad that something so witty and clever has to be spoiled for no reason.) One thing that the author said has stuck with me since the moment I read it.
In talking about the making of a certain dish (which one escapes me), she remarks on how it’s really a simple dish – just a few ingredients and not many steps. The dish, however, is not easy. The steps, few though they might be, are complicated and require great care in doing them properly. Do it incorrectly and the dish could be spoiled.
It got me thinking about how I usually confuse “easy” with “simple.” For years I have longed for a simple life. I dream of the days when we will have a peaceful home where everyone feels relaxed and stress-free. The reality is, however, that our time is often harried, rushing from one place to another, ordering dinner in, agonizing over homework and falling into bed (or into a tv-induced coma on the couch) at the end of the night, exhausted. SOO not what I want for my family.
Easy: Not hard or difficult; requiring no great labor or effort
Simple: easy to understand, deal with, use, etc.: a simple matter; simple tools; not elaborate or artificial; plain; not ornate or luxurious; unadorned; unaffected; unassuming; modest; not complicated.
I want simple. Yes, it’s nice to have things easy. But do you know what? Easy isn’t necessarily what’s best. Building a family, a life, a home takes work. It doesn’t happen just by sitting back and letting the chips fall where they may. It’s hard work to train and disciple the children God has entrusted you with. It requires effort and planning and care to run a home where the people in it are nourished, physically, mentally and spiritually.
Sure, I could take the easy way out. (Sadly, I think I’ve fallen into that trap lately.) But while I want life to be simple, I don’t just want to mindlessly walk through my days doing whatever it takes to get through the day. I want our lives to be more mindful, more deliberate than that. But, like Julia’s recipe for whatever-it-was, those steps take some effort.
What about you? How do you define easy vs. simple in your home? What steps do you take to make your life simpler?