Recently, I was thinking fondly about our school gatherings and how we traditionally end our assemblies with the song Simple Gifts. It’s a great American folk song of Shaker origin that has been widely sung in concert halls, schools, colleges, churches, folk clubs and even at three different Presidential Inaugurations in Washington. D.C. It made me wonder why there is so much beauty in simplicity and why we are so attracted by it. When something is stripped down to it’s essence it allows us to focus on what is necessary and what is true. We spend a lot of time in our busy lives maintaining our material possessions, working long hours, rushing, scheduling and juggling commitments and lengthy to-do lists. We are often swept along by social expectations and social media. Our mental climate has become one that is constantly bombarded by input. All of this can feel pretty complicated and overwhelming. Simplicity is the antidote because it lets us focus on what’s most important to us while letting go of the rest. I am always amazed when I go camping how everything I actually need is in my tent….food, a warm sleeping bag, my clothes, shelter and the people I love…or how staring into a crackling fire is endlessly satisfying. It really is ‘a gift to come down where we ought to be….and find ourselves in the place just right’.
-Becky Brownlie (Enrollment & Outreach)