Vacation, Farmer Boy, and Re-entering “Real Life”

We just got back yesterday after staying at a cabin near Yellowstone National Park.  After living a “simple” life for eight days, it’s hard to enter real life again; a life that is not as simple as making meals and visiting National Monuments!  To make matters worse, we listened to Farmer Boy on the way home, and the simple life (the Wilder’s life) and my life seemed even more far apart.  I began to make resolutions in the van like…

  • I am going to hang up all my laundry
  • I am going to make my own soap and candles
  • I’m going to plant a bigger garden next year
  • We’re going to eat only healthy and homemade food again
  • I’m going to use electricity as little as possible (except for air-conditioning!)
  • I’m going to wear a “uniform” like the Amish so I don’t have to think about what to wear

I so long for a simple life, but alas, it’s not to be, at least not right now with seven homeschooled kids!  (Maybe next week, after I add all the above to my schedule!)  But seriously, Mrs. Wilder’s life was filled with daily, weekly, and yearly tasks that seem so wholesome and tradition-building.  She had no heaps of paper on her desk or emails to keep up with that took her away from her family.  And neither were her children supposed to be educated according to some government standard.  Almanzo often stayed home from school when there was “something more important” to do.  (Really?  More important than school?)

Sometimes I think I’d like to spend the whole day doing one thing, like white-washing the cellar, rather than the 100 little things that I feel like I have to do.  Simplicity is one of my favorite topics to research and read about, but I fear that achieving it is an uphill battle in our society, AND I always have to guard against it becoming an idol.  I can easily become dissatisfied and even angry at my non-simple life.  For now, I will try to remember that …

“the effect of righteousness [not simplicity] will be peace,
and the result of righteousness will be quietness and trust forever.”  (Isaiah 32:17)

And that’s what we really want, right?


8 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Lorri on June 22, 2011 at 10:11 pm

    Quite relatable as always. Thanks for sharing.


  2. I too find it a struggle to balance being frugal and living the simple life, and yet meeting all the requirements. Thanks for voicing it so well!!


  3. Posted by Carol on June 23, 2011 at 11:53 am

    I often think how our pioneer forefathers would never have made the trip if they were carrying the mounds of paper and STUFF that clutter our lives!!


  4. Posted by Cherry D on June 24, 2011 at 8:52 am

    I certainly understand the desire for simplicity. I think that it has to do with our hearts and not our doing. Yes, the busyness of life can get in the way but we have the option of freeing our time (believe it or not!) in ways that my grandmothers and great grandmothers never did. Yeah, hanging the clothes on the line and making your own soaps and clothes sound so relaxing until there is no other option. (Besides having to pump and carry the water, heat the water, fill tubs with hot soapy water, rinse water and rinse water again. Plus hand wringing the clothes, hanging them and ironing with irons heated without electricity and . . . well, you get the idea.)
    The reason the kids had the option of not going to school was that the parents needed that extra body to complete the tasks for survival. In many ways that life was beautiful but the distractions and need for simplicity were still great, just coming from a different place.
    I do remember how crazy life gets with a bunch of kids to look after. I know it sounds so far removed for you in the midst of it, but enjoy it day by day. It truly goes by too fast. Focusing on the joys of life in the midst of life — I think perhaps that is simplicity.


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