I spent a good part of the day enjoying one of my favorite pastimes ... reading a good book. Currently I am reading Philip Yancey. I love reading Philip Yancey. I love his writing and I appreciate his perspective. He stretches me and challenges me to think deeper. He validates a lot of what I struggle with as well. This particular book I am reading, "Soul Survivor: How Thirteen Unlikely Mentors Helped My Faith Survive the Church", touches me on so many levels.
Here is an excerpt from what I read today:
"In the autobiography, Gandhi traces the evolution of his simple lifestyle. He had tried Western ways as a law student in London, outfitting himself in an evening suit, silk top hat, patent leather boots, white gloves, and a silver-tipped walking stick. He remained something of a dandy when he returned to India, and did not begin to change until he went to South Africa. First he ironed his own shirts, much to the ridicule of his law colleagues. Then he practiced cutting his own hair, leaving patches of unevenness that drew even more laughter. While drawing a good salary, he experimented by halving household expenses, then halving them again. At the end of every day he made a meticulous accounting of every penny spent.
From these experiments, Gandhi found the the process of spending less money and acquiring fewer possessions simplified his life and gave him inner peace."
"Voices in the West today are calling for a return to simplicity. Some Christians uphold the virtues of a simple lifestyle and raise questions about the morality of Western standards in the light of world inequities (though, in fairness, the level of simplicity they recommend more closely resembles what Gandhi started with than what he later attained). I will leave the issue of lifestyle morality to others more confident than I. What I learn from Gandhi is the reason for simplicity, not its level. Gandhi pursued simplicity not out of guilt but rather out of necessity, for the sake of his own spiritual health."
Sitting on my desk beside me right now is the new Oprah magazine. I haven't read it yet; haven't even opened it up. I bought it tonight because my sister said it was all about de-cluttering your life which is something I am passionate about. Written across the cover in large print are these words, "De-Clutter Your Life! Say goodbye to the stuff that's weighing you down." Apparently Oprah had one of her "Aha moments" as the cover relays, "I want to be lean and clean for the future."
And it all makes me think, what are we doing? We accumulate things because we think it will make us happy. We work hard to be able to afford the things we love. And then we work even harder to manage the things we have. Do our 'things' weigh us down? Do they keep us from having inner peace? What do you think?