The Cry Vol 16 No 1 . 2

Through the branches

It was Oct. 25, and I was driving from Bloomfield, Neb. (my hometown), to Omaha. I took an alternate route to avoid interstate construction and hopefully make the trip in less than three hours. Oddly enough, Highway 275 was a source of revelation for me. On the drive, I became more aware than ever that there is a beautiful simplicity in the deciduous trees of the Nebraska fall.

The trees were nearly bare — only a few faded orange leaves dangled from the tips of the branches. This gave the trees a semi-transparent look, and, as I peered through, I received a fuller picture of the entire landscape.

I appreciated the thin outline of the branches jutting from the trees’ skeleton-like form. I noticed the wind as it forcefully blew through the branches. I saw the sunlight as it struck through the trees and onto the grass.

I saw the blue sky. I saw the setting sun. I saw birds perched. It was the very bare, yet beautiful trees that caused my eyes to focus on these things.

I think this is how simplicity is in my life. As I pursue healthy approaches to simplicity, I can see more clearly the landscape through the branches. When I let the leaves — that represent esteem, control and possession — fall, I let Jesus Christ radiate through me, I hear God’s voice speak to me and I see who I am. When I let those leaves fall, I have the freedom to embrace simplicity. And I find that:

Simplicity is not identification with possessions, nor is it identification with making eliminations.
Simplicity cannot be relative, but it is not absolute; it is individual.
Simplicity is not to be confused with oppression, subjugation and self-abnegation.
Simplicity is a choice.
Simplicity is genuine appreciation for what is.
Simplicity can help us see ourselves, see another, see what is, see what is not; it can move us toward solidarity.
Simplicity is the way of remembering the past, keeping to the present and realizing the future.
Simplicity makes a way for others.
Simplicity can be a way that God is made present in my life.
Simplicity can reflect Jesus Christ in me.

From the spring through the summer, the trees had leaves. So much is hidden in and around the trees when they are covered with leaves. Then the fall comes, the trees experience barrenness, and we are given a clearer picture of the trees and of the landscape surrounding them. My willingness to live in simplicity allows my mind to be clearer, my heart more open and my life more tender to receive.

Like everything, learning, practicing and celebrating simplicity is a journey — I want to continue to choose this journey as an act of obedience to God and as a way to have space to receive all that God has for me.

Photo: Mandy Mowers

Photo: Mandy Mowers