This I Believe
About twenty years ago walking along the Hudson River, I felt a life direction being made. In the Christian tradition it is sometimes referred to as a calling. I was drawn to lead what I called a quiet life and in this I believe. And I have grown to believe in the value of living a quiet life. Some might call it a simple life or simpler life than most folks lead in today’s world in North America. Defining this thing called a quiet life is not easy: trying to live without all the modern gadgets: television and internet; not making lots of money, but having time. For me it is building a life on the teachings of Jesus Christ and justice and peace.
Over the years I have watched people get caught up in jobs, rushing after possessions only to lose their families or their integrity or simply their enjoyment of life. I was greatly impacted by writers like Thomas Merton, Wendell Berry, Helen and Scott Nearing, Harlan Hubbard, Thich Nhat Hanh and Charles de Foucauld. All of these people believe in what I call a “quiet life” or a variation of it.
So, again what does a “quiet life” mean? Finding time for inner quiet and peace, getting to know yourself, listening to and getting to know the people around you. It means loving people truly and having time for them. It means not feeling driven to have the next new gadget or spend hours in front of a TV. A quiet life means having time to enjoy life and to spend time learning, creating, playing and laughing. The opposite might be rushing from one task to the next with no sense of self.
This all started twenty years ago and I am still learning and the “quiet life” has changed and adapted due to marriage and children and job responsibilities. I write this while on retreat in the woods of Kentucky. A time even further away from phones and bright lights, so that I can immerse myself in the rejuvenating quiet once again. I am writing in pen and then will have to get my son to help me figure how to put it in the computer and then go to the library where he will show me the process of transferring a file so that it can be sent over the public libraries internet.
The “quiet life” is my own concept that I have a tough time defining but it is helping to define me. And in this quiet life I believe.
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