15 January 2009

'Tis a Gift to Be Simple

This is egg salad.

This is a fresh loaf of bread.  It is tasty.

When their culinary kinetic energy combines, these two items may become an egg salad sandwich.  Or an odd version of stuffing.  Either way, they are delicious.  

To be truthful, it does feel a bit odd to be so excited about food, but my feelings of oddity are eclipsed by a massive amount of pride because I made both of these foodstuffs last night.  There's something utterly satisfying about kneading dough after a rough Spanish class, punching and pushing my frustrations into the floury surface until they, along with any air pockets, evaporate into the yeasty-smelling atmosphere and I'm left with nothing less than a renewed spirit and a perfectly shaped ball of what will become tasty goodness.  I set out last night to make some bread because I needed it, because I was hungry, because I felt like doing something domestic and above all, because it was a bit of simplicity.  Bread isn't exactly the easiest recipe, but it's at least somewhere between jell-o and coq au vin.  And besides, it wasn't culinary simplicity I was going for.  It was spiritual simplicity.  

A couple months ago I started reading Foster's "A Celebration of Discipline" and the discipline that hit me the most was that of simplicity.  He writes, "The Christian Discipline of simplicity is an inward reality that results in an outward life-style."  It's a conscientious commitment to the Kingdom instead of emotional or mental or physical stuff.  So I've been trying to let go of my stuff this semester.  Anyone who knows me knows that it's the mental and emotional stuff that I hold onto, but I've been working my way up by giving away clothes and shoes and handbags and books like there's no tomorrow.  And baking.  It's something simple to me.  It's participating in creation, it's healthy, it's centering.  It's acting how God wants me to act--simply.  I put all my stuff in between God and me, hoping that it'll fill the void when really it's not a book-shaped hole or a kitten heel-shaped hole or a blogging-shaped hole.  It's a God-shaped one.  

I had this ball when I was little:  it was half red and half blue and had all these cutouts of shapes that you could put little corresponding pieces into--stars and circles and squares.  When you put the pieces in the right holes they fell into the middle and when you were all done, you could pull it apart and start over again.  Really, it's a good lesson.  Why do we keep trying to put square pieces in star-shaped holes?  It's not a solution, it's a distraction.  If we get rid of the squares then there you go, situation solved. 

Maybe it's just bread and egg salad, but I feel a lot better--more at peace, much closer to God, less stressed.  And fuller...of tasty sandwiches, that is.


hrobins said...

My dearest Cynthia, you are inspiring. I would like to live more simply myself...how does one do it? Also, I must ask where you found this glorious template (and I do prefer this title font, though the previous was quite striking as well).

Cindy said...


You're great. And as far as the living simply, I'll keep updating, but I highly suggest reading Foster's book if you haven't already. Also, btemplates.com is where I got the template and they have some GREAT stuff; I highly suggest checking it out. The new title font is Zapfino which I think might only be on Macs, which only speaks to their superiority if that's true.

alethea said...

that bread was delicious.
your blog is beautiful.
and simplicity is a beautiful lesson and you share it wonderfully!