A very wise friend commented about an early piece of art I was struggling to finish. His timely repeating of an old cliché was the feedback I needed. “Less is usually more.”
The words have never left me. I know that I frequently forget them, yet there sit quietly in the background waiting for me to remember them. I do not think that I am unique. In an age where information and images flood our souls faster than we can say no, life is complex. In a time where life’s cruelty is on always out on display, life is messy. Even in the dark quietness of the night, our uncertainty, fear, and doubts are alive! Life is fragile, uncertain even for the strong.
The reminders I find myself waking to in a new day include the following.
Life offers us simple messages, even in the chaos that we find ourselves in. Grasp the messages life offers and learn from them. There will be more in the future. Do not worry about their timing or quantity. Accept what you can learn. Breathe in deeply. Let the experience settle within you. By letting the first lesson touch you, the opening for more appears.
Days start with endless possibilities. It is easy to find one’s self overwhelmed by the choices and endless variations. In the quietness of the morning sun, I realize that I hold a moment at hand. It is a singular slice in time. It may lead anywhere, however it is only one. The question is always, what will I do with the one. The many will come.
Simple messages and moments form an invitation. A wisdom father noted that “I deliberately kept it plain and simple: first Jesus and who he is; then Jesus and what he did—Jesus crucified.” (1 Corinthians 2.2) Will I live out that message? Will I let what it means – compassion first, mercy always – be what I do?
Life will knock us down. That reality does not need to shape everything. Each has the freedom of living in this moment.