Saturday, July 21, 2018

Simple Days, Simple Joys

I flipped my Irish perpetual calendar to a new day and saw this quote attributed to Emily Lawless, “Simple days bring simple joys.” I couldn’t agree more!

When I think back whether it was decades ago, or last week, I realize the simple times in my life were the happiest times. I can close my eyes and remember those simple days.

In my childhood, I think of summer days on the creek bank with my bare feet dangling in the water while I read a book. I  remember family reunions when I got to spend time with the Capps cousins and Saturdays at Grandma and Grandpa Whittle’s house when my aunts, uncles, and Mom played their instruments and sang country and gospel songs. We kids would listen for a while, dance, and then run out into the yard to play.

My life became more complicated during the teenage years, but was simple compared to today. I wrote letters, listened to the Beatles with my friend Sharon, and fell in and out of love a few times. Then, I met and married Jim.

Over the next two decades, we raised our sons. Our weeks were quiet and weekends were spent with family—ours, mine, and his--often filled with jam sessions, fishing, campfires, and quality family time. We celebrated special occasions by eating out or going to movies. We traveled to Oregon, and discovered Colorado. Later we made our trips to Branson to watch country music shows, visit Silver Dollar City, cruise on the Branson Belle, and Ride the Ducks.

Life took another turn when Jim developed dementia. Our sons had families of their own, our fathers died, and we entered an unpredictable time. Life started to get chaotic and I longed for the simple days. Instead, my world revolved around Jim, work, and volunteering. Anxiety became my constant companion.

Today, the simple days have vanished and been replaced with constant intrusions. We are bombarded with demands on our time and invasions of our privacy. We’ve become dependent on Google instead of memory. Opinionated news has replaced facts. Politics used to be relegated to election time, but now, we have it crammed down our throats on a daily basis. People have become more contentious, politically polarized, more religious and less Christian.

Cell phones have replaced conversations with click, click, click. We have to keep up with Facebook, Twitter, texting, breaking news, weather alerts, and dozens of other apps. All the talk radio and politics of TV has many of us getting our news on our phones.

Even though I’m retired, it seems that simple days are uncommon. For the past two weeks, I’ve had one, two, and sometimes three events a day. Interspersed in the busyness, I find simple joy while walking my dog, drinking coffee with my husband on the deck, joining my friends for line dancing exercise class, spending time with my kids and grandkids, or walking out into the yard to photograph the sunset at the end of the day.

Recently, I’ve found new joyful moments by playing my ukulele with our family band at nursing homes. Our practice sessions are flashbacks of the simple days, often humorous, relaxing, and most of all precious time together. When my mom sings now, she’s hearing her kids, daughter-in-law, and niece instead of her brothers.

It isn’t always easy to discover simple joys in our complicated world. My hope is that if I fill my time with enough simple joys, they will become simple days.  

Copyright © July 2018 by L.S. Fisher

No comments: