Tuesday, September 25, 2007

The Beauty of Simplicity

In the last few days, I have noticed that I have been struck by things of simplicity. Maybe it is because the last few weeks have reminded me of priorities in life and what success is defined by.

I started a book series called the Mitford series. It has been out for a while but I am just now reading the first. My reward for passing my licensure exam was reading a fun, fiction book (I felt guilty reading any other time because I knew I should study instead). I love to read and still get absorbed into a story, even as I did as a child. I chose to begin this series because it is one that was loved by my grandmother, Meme. I am reading her book and I smiled the other day as I turned a page and saw a small coffee stain. She and I shared a love for reading and I just felt like staying in a part of her world for the time. Back to the theme of the blog...

This book (and the series I assume) is about the comings and goings of a lovely, little town where people know and care for one another and you can walk wherever you need to go. I have found myself thinking, "I'd like to live there" and then wonder if I realistically could live in such a slower pace of life.

The second wonderment with simplicity came this morning when I heard my baby's heart beat for the first time. It was such a simple sound but so beautiful to hear the little life, letting me know that he or she is healthy and growing. It was amazing to know that the little thumps I was listening to belonged to my child.

When I first think of simplicity, I think of slow and easy and not too busy. But I think what makes simplicity appealing is actually that there is something meaningful put into it. In the Mitford series, what is desirable about the life of the townspeople is the purpose they carry with them through their day, particularly relationships with others. What was special about the simple sound of a heartbeat is that it is from my baby and it is the first communication she or he has made to me. That is a new priority, to make what I do meaningful and appreciate the simple things that matter.

There is a song I am reminded of that was popular for a few years titled "The Beauty of Simplicity." Some of the lyrics are:
It's the beauty of simplicity
that brings me down to my knees
I'll praise You for eternity
and lord I love You
Because You
You first loved me
And all God's people say:
We, we love You, we love You Lord, we love You
And we, we love You, we love you Lord, we love You
We love You

Again, it is what is meaningful in those words and it is the simplicity of faith. It is not to be hard or busy, but it doesn't mean it won't...rather, it is the powerful, yet simple message that we love Him because He first loved us.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

My Meme

My precious grandmother recently passed away. I was given the opportunity to put her words into paragraph form for her obituary. When it was completed, I felt that it just did not say enough about who she really was. It had the dates of her birth and death, names of family members and things she was involved in...but it didn't say who she really was. So, I am going to use this avenue to tell you about my Meme.

I can write about what others have said: Meme was a fine lady, she was full of grace, kindness and cared about the lives of others. She was busier after she retired than when she worked full time because she volunteered so much. She always sent a kind note, always had a thoughtful word.

But, what I am choosing to write about is what I knew of her as her granddaughter. She was the woman who for my thirteenth birthday, took me to the mall for my first makeover and made me feel so grown up. She would take me out to lunch before a semester of college started, so that just the two of us could spend some time together. She emailed me almost daily when I first left town, keeping me updated about everything from what the rain was doing to the grass at Tabor, to her prayers about different family members. She always stood up for me when I was getting in trouble in junior high, even when I needed to be in trouble. She picked my sister and me up from school so that we could ice cookies and decorate her home for Christmas with her. When I started a Christmas village (because of hers), she took all of the girls in the family to a Christmas village exhibit so that I could see the large collection in town. Growing up, her house was ours to let our imagination run in. It was a beautiful and elegant place, but felt like home. The smell of bacon in the morning still reminds me of waking up at her home. And I know the night before she would have read the Sesame Street book to me and Bearly Bear to my sister for the hundredth time of each. Then she would have scratched our backs as we fell asleep in the room that I always thought was like a princess room. Before I got married, she reminded me that marriage is a commitment that I could not take lightly. She loved my husband and loved how much he and I love each other. She told me of a conversation she had with my sister. My sister said, "Jordan loves being a wife." Meme corrected her and said "Jordan loves being a wife to Brock." She did not try to impress any of us with how much she knew, but it was clear that she was one of the wisest women I have known. She worried about us all, all of the time. She had her post at the window above the driveway, checking on all of us. She modeled how to get along with others, and how to take care of others. She did the right thing because it was the right thing to do, not for expectations or praise. She loved my Pete and took care of him. Her emails, before she was sick, always told me about what they did together and she never said anything but loving words about him. In fact, she only spoke with love about all of her family. She served us and gave her time for us. Meals were a special way for her to have us spend time together and we spent hours at the dining room table, long after the meal was done, telling stories and laughing. Then, my mom and aunt would try to start the dishes and she would repeatedly insist they stop, even though they never listened. I have so many wonderful memories of us all just spending time together, sitting in different rooms in their house. I never once doubted that I was a priority to her. No matter what was going on in her life, I was greeted with a "Hi Honey" in a voice that sounded so happy to see me. Even at her sickest, she wanted me to know that she was going to be okay. She modeled her faith, especially through her disease. She had an unwavering faith in God and strongly believed in prayer. She desired to know more and grow closer to Him and always encouraged me with words of His truth.

This description may not mean much to anyone else reading it, but it is some of the special things she was to me. After all of that, I still do not feel as though I have captured who she was. Proverbs 31:10-31 was one of her favorite Scripture passages. I think it is a good summarization.
"A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies. Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value. She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life.
She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue. She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. Her children (and grandchildren) arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: "Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all." Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised. Give her the reward she has earned, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate."