’tis a gift to be simple

I had this old song, beloved by Quakers, in my head:

‘Tis a gift to be simple
’tis a gift to be free
’tis a gift to come down
where we want to be
And when we come down
in a place just right
it will be in the valley
of love and delight.

When true simplicity is gained,
to bow and to bend we will not be ashamed
To turn, to turn, will be our delight
till by turning, turning, we come round right.

But what does that mean?

Simplicity is one of the tenets of Quaker (Friends) belief. The belief is that, if we keep our lives simple enough, we may hear the divine in the silence. We may clear away the clutter to find what’s essential. We may find that we feel better living right-sized instead of large. We may see ourselves as a part of the world rather than centering it on ourselves.

The song is comforting. I still keep my life a little too complex, although COVID has pared back some of that. I still fault myself for not being in the place I want to be (with some renown), but perhaps I’m in the place I should be. 

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