Simplicity – excerpt from Donald Miller’s “Through Painted Deserts.”

Donald Miller’s book, “Through Painted Deserts,” is a great read. As I read through it again this summer I was captivated by the thought of how simple life should be, and is perhaps designed to be, and yet how incapable I seem to be of grabbing hold of that simplicity.  A slower, simpler way of life that calls to us, instead slips like so much sand through the fingers of our busy lives.  Here’s at least to reminders of the truth:

“I know for a fact that as a grain of sand compares to the size of the earth itself, I compare to the cosmos.  I am that insignificant.  And yet the chemicals in my brain that make me feel beauty when I look up at the stars, when I watch a sunset, indicate that I must be here for a reason.  I think I would sum it up this way:  Life is not a story about me, but it is being told to me, and I can be glad of that.  I think that is the why of life and, in fact, the why of this ancient faith I am caught up in: to enjoy God.  The stars were created to dazzle us, like a love letter; light itself is just a metaphor, something that exists outside of time, made up of what seems like nothing, infinite in its power, something that can be experienced but not understood, like God.  . . .  Months ago I would have told you life was about doing, about jumping through religious hoops, about impressing other people, and my actions would have told you this is done by buying possessions or keeping a good image or going to church.  I don’t believe that anymore.  I think we are supposed to stand in deserts and marvel at how the sun rises.  I think we are supposed to sleep in meadows and watch stars dart across space and time.  I think we are supposed to love our friends and introduce people to the story, to the peaceful, calming why of life.  I think life is spirituality.  . . .  I hope I never lose this perspective.  . . . I promise myself if I ever get frustrated with life again, and if I ever get into river-deep debt, I will sell it all and move into the woods, find some people who aren’t like me and learn to love them, and do something even harder, let them love me, receive the love of somebody who doesn’t share my faith system, who doesn’t agree with me about everything, and I will sleep beneath the stars and whisper thank you to the Creator of the universe, as a way of reacquainting myself to an old friend, a friend who says you don’t have to be smart or good-looking, or religious or anything; you just have to cling to Him, love Him, need Him, listen to His story.
Donald Miller

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