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Life’s Simple Riches

by Pat Farrell

The finery of this hotel struck me: marble floors and rich tapestries greeted me on my arrival. I was awestruck at the grandeur and the mere size of this place. It soon became obvious that while the hotel was busy with activities, there was a hollowness throughout. I could see people scurrying up and down the hallways, which reminded me of what my dad used to say: “Everyone’s in a hurry – going nowhere.”

Looking beyond the finery of the hotel reinforced for me that there was nothing to ponder or to give me pause. There was nothing to cause my soul to stir, to deepen my thoughts, or to engender that inner stillness that my soul craves by calling out “More!”

I came to know that it was not the marble,
the tapestries, or the fanfare that could fill my soul.

There was another place that I had visited just the day before. It was a simpler place without outward elaboration and display, but one that left me the opportunity to be still and to ponder, which allowed me to fill the spaces with thoughts and feelings.

My room was simple (almost bare) and contained a small bed, table and a couple of chairs. An open window allowed a breeze to bring in not only air but also a chorus of crickets at dusk.

As I continued to listen, I realized the sound of rain on the tin roof, the babble of a brook near my porch, a crackling fireplace, the symphony of birds outside my bedroom window at dawn were the things that gave me pause, brought me stillness and a presence with and beside me that only the spirit comprehends.

We have to teach our children by example. It will not be from the TV but the lack of it; not the artificial computer games but real life that buds and blooms around us; not the gold and glitz but the warmth of life and the sound of living.

Go “live” with living. Be the “warmth of life and the sound of living.” Start by opening a window and breathing. Walk slowly through and deliberately brush by fresh herbs in a kitchen garden. Inhale their aroma! Find a pool of water. Skip a stone across the lake. Hold a kitten. Feed a duck. Hear the night’s chorus that beckons you to come out and simply “be” with them.

We cannot teach what we do not know. In order to teach your children how to find solace in the world, you’ll first have to find it yourself.

 “You have seen many things and have paid no attention.
Your ears are open but you do not listen.”
Isaiah 42:20

Pat Farrell is a CEP life coach and certified lay minister for the Wytheville District United Methodist Church She can be reached at pat@patfarrellcoach.com or 276-223-8210.



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