Guest blog post by Tim Scarbrough
Simplicity. For many months now, this seems to be a place I must inhabit — a place of peaceful simplicity. A definition of the word "simplicity" is a thing that is plain, natural, or easy to understand. It might be pluralized as "simplicities of pastoral living".
Yet, to further the concept, I think the perception of simplicity is as personal as the feelings a sunrise might create in your heart, or perhaps the giggle of a baby or the mew of a kitten. Is it a place of raw basic emotion? Perhaps one of nostalgia or sweet memory?
I believe all these examples are true and much more than many of us might consider. Let me elaborate from a recent discovery as I was recovering from some of the worst effects of radiation and hormone treatments I experienced while fighting prostate cancer.
I recently rediscovered my front porch, a place of simplicity.
I have a small farm in rural southern Illinois and have always had a great view from my porch. I’d commonly see bees and trees, dogs and cats, gradual and sometimes rapid growth of plant life, especially mid-summer crabgrass and field corn. Before my divorce some years ago, throughout 22 years married, our porch was seldom used — and not at all for meetings, quiet time with God, calm reflections, or meditation.
Last year, a former girlfriend of mine gave me a nice cigar. We sat together and laughed, smoked it, and drank a little just spending quality time together, on the porch.
I newly saw, even in the beginning of 2020, my porch was a place that gave me comfort. In this place, I found a peace that I’d not known since my marriage was sound, and all of my children were smaller, living inside.
How utterly simple and profoundly peaceful!
In my deep pain from treatments, work stresses, and old terrible memories that bubble up from time to time I was able to sit comfortably on my porch, just me and the Lord. Sometimes with a glass of tea or coffee, maybe a pipe of aromatic tobacco and a brandy: There I found a deeper place of simplicity and peace. Afresh I saw trees and grass. With new insight I saw my small herds of goats and sheep grazing. Hummingbirds, honeybees and wasps buzzed by, And goldfinches flew across the yard.
I could see the faint expression of a breeze through a leaf on a low branch or through only the top of the boughs of very tall trees. A thunder storm might cause the rain to fall and the trees to bend but there I sat, enjoying the sight and feel of it all. A dog or cat at my feet and I was not suffering but just basically at rest. I might have been utterly exhausted or feeling terrible but I could find peace sitting there and letting the wind blow and simply just be.
View from the porch.
For some months since this rediscovery, my porch remains a place of simple peace. An escape for me from a world of pestilence and uncertainty, in all seasons a location to quietly commune with God and the world he created — a basic place of simple joy.
I encourage you to search your home for this special secret place. I guarantee it exists. You just need to search it out. When you find it, make it your own and use it often if not daily. Each of us needs this to live life in order to decompress or be quiet amidst worldly noise. Your body, mind and especially your soul will be thankful of the decision and the time spent in this peaceful place of simplicity.
Seek it out….right now!
Tim Scarbrough is a retired Army veteran, single dad of four awesome kids and owner of a small farm. He serves others through his local church, mentorship and public speaking in Toastmasters, and building missions with Habitat for Humanity.
Aur Beck has lived completely off-grid for over 35 years. He has traveled with his family through 24 states and 14,000 recorded miles by horse-drawn wagon. Aur is a presenter at The Climate Reality Project, a fellow addict at Oil Addicts Anonymous International and a talk show co-host at WDBX Community Radio for Southern Illinois 91.1 FM. Find him on the Living Off Grid, Really!?!? Facebook page, and read all of Aur's MOTHER EARTH NEWS posts here.
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