Sunday, February 16, 2014

Weekends with Chesterton: A Simple Kind of Love

It's Chesterton time! As much as I love him for his amazing gift with words, insight, intellect, and so much more, I find that when I try to write a post on one quote my mind wanders to the oodles of different ways the one line can be expanded on or applied. When I try to write my Chesterton posts, I feel as if I've put together the most discombobulated string of paragraphs because I have such a hard time honing in on just one avenue of thought. So, bear with me while I try to share some tidbits from the various avenues this line sent me to.
Men rush towards complexity;
but they yearn for simplicity.

One thing I've always known about my husband is that he yearns for simplicity. It's something that I loved and still love about him. He would always encourage us to live within our means. To be as smart as we can with our money going forward. To not spend it on a bunch of wants but to discern our needs and go from there. To love each other, our boys, and others simply. A simple kind of love that focuses on the gift of ourselves to each other. Sometimes I'm good at it, but others I'm the one rushing toward the complex. 

Since being married, we've seen how easy it can be to get caught up in the complexities of life. From career to family life and everything in between, complexities can be found. Chesterton was right when he said men rush towards complexity. Complexity is something that just seems to happen when you don't have the time. Or, when you don't give the time deserved to situations, important decisions, or items purchased. It seems through proper discernment are we really able to find the simplicity we yearn for. But how challenging is discernment for the simpler things or simpler answers in a culture that is all about the now, and what's new, and immediate gratification at any cost.

Now with our children, we see how there is just so much going on in the world around them. Not only in our culture but in all the things that they should and shouldn't have. All the latest fads. All the latest toys. All the latest parenting advice. And so much more. Racking our brains into the complex.

I chose this picture because for our boys it is about the simpler things. And they run towards it! Through their innocence we see how they yearn for interaction, fun, and creative play. The outdoors, filled with fresh air and sticks to no abound. Hugs and smiles from the faces and arms of the ones they love (and who love them!). Pick-a-boo and tickle fingers. Eye contact and conversation. Empty boxes and long sheets or blankets. All of God's beautiful and simple gifts that overflow at every corner, at every step, at every sight, with every breath, and more. All to our delight! He meets us. To show us how simply He loves us. And we yearn for that. That simple kind of love.

Now, here's where Chesterton takes me down a different avenue. This quote also takes me back when I was in graduate school, I remember going on a day retreat. We went out to a Benedictine Monastery in Virginia and the grounds were beautiful! Our schedule was very nice. We could wander and spend the day in prayer, decided to meet for Mass midway, and then have a silent meal prior to being on our way.

While wandering, all I wanted to do was find a flower garden. The grounds were all so lush I had such visions of what their flower garden would be like! I crossed paths with a priest and asked him if he knew of where I could find one. He simply told me, "Look around you now!...There are flowers everywhere!" And proceeded to walk past me with a smile.

Ha. Feeling a little sheepish I found the nearest bench and pulled out my journal to sit and pray. I looked around. And, to my delight he was right. There were such beautiful flowers everywhere. And, I forget what month we were in (maybe May?), but the wind started to pick up and brought a shower of dandelions floating through the air. It was so magical! I've never been surrounded by so many little dandelions floating and dancing around me! It was beautiful. I felt so held. So loved in such a kind and simple way. Had I not left this complicated little journey I created for myself to find the most beautiful flower garden, I would never have seen Him in all the little and simple places that surrounded me. I would never have been held the way I was on that bench. I would have been seeking and searching for something that may not have even existed. All the while, He would have continued beckoning me, simply to sit and be still. I left that retreat always trying to remember to look around for the flowers that are everywhere. For the simpler things that are right in front of my nose!

So, I'm glad I stumbled across this quote because it brought me back to such a sweet time and helped me see a little more how sweetly simple our boys are. To see how it is a gift that my husband yearns for it and encourages it in our little family. It also helped me remember the beautiful world that they are trying to bring their complex mama into. The beautiful one that Our God made. The one that abounds with simplicity that we all yearn for.  

Weekends with Chesterton: cultivating the intellectual life

Head over to Sarah's for more Chesterton!


  1. Oh, I love the picture! And that's a perfect quote to go with it.

    Whenever I find myself overly busy, it's always because I said "yes" to too many things without slowly and carefully discerning them before jumping in.

    1. Sarah, a compliment on a picture from *you* made my day!! Your photos are always so beautiful and lovely, so thank you for sharing such a compliment! :D

  2. That's a great quote! And so true. I know my husband and I always try to make things simpler, but yet it is so easy to come up with complex ways to fulfill what we perceive as needs. And like Sarah said, saying yes to too many things (commitments, stuff, etc) is a guaranteed way for us to feel like we're driving ourselves crazy!

    1. Yes, it's so easy to perceive so many things as "needs" all the while making ourselves crazy! Something I do all too easily on a regular basis! Thanks for stopping by, Amber!


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