Recently, we had family come to visit. It was a good visit. But they were deeply concerned. They could not, in any way, see why in the world we chose to live with some goofy looking rabbit ears on an old CRT television set. While they were here we started losing a few of the channels we’d previously had (we weren’t down to just the single one we had this past Friday just yet). We weren’t terribly dismayed by this but thought maybe we ought to try out a better quality antenna as we had company. It didn’t work. They took this as a sign that we must really be broke and struggling if we just could not afford cable. It took us three days and a lot of long heart-felt and loving conversations to convince them that not only are we just fine, but, for the most part we really do prefer life this way. We love the simplicity of it. We like not being inundated by a constant news loop or all the commercials causing our kids to insist that the world will end if they don’t have that new gadget that the television man swore was the very best thing ever! (I’ll never forget how hard it was to convince my five year old that Blue Bell Ice Cream wasn’t necessarily the very best ever just because the commercial said so. It IS good. Very good. But that’s not the point). This point of contention over our choice of antenna use went on, in spite of my two children happily playing outside in dirt (we have a LOT of dirt in the desert by the way), and making art on the sidewalks with chalk and reading books and playing cowboys and indians and space men and knights in shining duct-tape-covered-shopping-bag armor. My kids have some dvd’s they enjoy, but mostly they don’t miss cable tv because they don’t have it. We have old-fashioned fun. We read a lot. We laugh a lot. We listen to music a lot. And they have a healthy understanding of the joy of Saturday morning cartoons (something that my generation may have been the very last to really appreciate). We like the effusive childhood joy that rings throughout our home for lack of constant droning and distracting television. Until we limited the channels coming into our house we had no idea how much of a drain it was on our family life other than just the budget. Simplicity can bring so many rich things to our lives. I think it becomes easy to chase something we have been convinced is better, when in reality it may not be. So, dear friends, I share our choice on the cable matter as well as this old story with you I stumbled across today because it is timely to what we just experienced here at my house:
How Poor We Really Are
One day a wealthy family man took his son on a trip to the country so he could have his son see how poor country people were. They stayed one day and one night in the farmhouse of a very humble farm. On the way back home at the end of the trip the father asked the son, ‘What did you think of the trip?’
The son replied, ‘Very nice, Dad.’
The father then asked, ‘Did you noticed how poor they were?’
The son replied, ‘Yes, I guess so.’
The father then added, ‘And what did you learn?’
To this question, the son thought for a moment and answered slowly, ‘I learned that we have one dog in the house and they have four. We have a fountain in the garden and they have a stream that has no end.
‘We have fancy lanterns in our garden, while they have the stars. Our garden goes to the edge of our yard, but for their back yard they have the entire horizon!’ At the end of the son’s reply, the rich father was speechless. His son then added: ‘Thanks, Dad, for showing me how poor we really are.’
We’re sticking with the antenna. For now.
So, dear readers, what unexpected rich joys have come into your life because of something you’ve simplified?