My Dear Children,
I hope you have the courage to pursue a simple life. If you feel it is calling you, take heart and do not shrink from a seemingly ordinary way.
I know, I know, as your mother, aren’t I supposed to instill in you a sense of greatness? Aren’t I supposed to remind you on a daily basis that you can pursue whatever impressive and grand dream you have in your heart, no matter how great the obstacle?
I am doing that in my own way.
But as I look around at the histories you are learning, the tales you are reading and the contemporary rhetoric you are hearing from every corner of our culture, it seems you are being bombarded with calls toward the one narrow path of greatness. To be influencers, great leaders, money makers, jet setters, never-stop-no-matter-the-cost kind of people – that is what the world tells you that you must be in order to matter. In order to live a true life.
That kind of life is not the only true existence. If you are called toward greatness in the eyes of the world, I will love and encourage you. I will be proud of you and hope you will do it with all the integrity you possess.
If, however, you find yourself pausing and feeling uncertain that doing something impressive on paper and acclaimed by others is your calling, then I hope you will realize that you must take courage and overcome another kind of obstacle. It is a great obstacle, and one that has conquered many a soul: that of needing to please others rather than truly fulfilling one’s own true purpose.
Now, it is true that if you do not make obvious waves in this world, or have a string of achievements and accomplishments to list when people inquire about your life, you might be tempted to feel a bit smaller than others in the room. I have no idea what kind of social media connection will exist when you are of age, but you may feel like something is wrong if you are not “sharing” the kind of activities that garner widespread reactions from others. You may see so little representation in movies and novels of people who are satisfied with simple lives, that you may wonder why you are NOT unsatisfied with your life. When every fictional protagonist is seemingly miserable before pursing something great, is there something lacking in you for finding purpose and meaning in a humbler way? Are you boring or less important a person?
You’ll have those doubts and worries. You’ll question. But if your heart continues to come back to a quieter place, you must have courage. You must value your own inner voice and calling from God to live your simple life as you feel is right, even if others may at times make you feel little.
Do you want to know something amazing?
The more intentionally you live a simple life, the more you will find how extraordinary it truly is.
You will be moved by the sheer number of people in this world who seek authentic connection over superficial assembling.
You will be awed with the intimacy of being with those you love in the most natural and unassuming circumstances.
You will be surprised at your own strength in not needing to be the most impressive human in the room.
You will savor joy in pouring encouragement and affirmation into others, even while not expecting praise in return.
You will find true purpose in a humble kind of service that is not necessarily lauded, but that you know in your heart still makes a lasting difference.
You will be grateful for having the time to listen instead of always being the one to talk.
You will find liberation in not needing to constantly busy yourself in order to be worthy.
You will hear God’s voice in the seemingly ordinary. You will feel the presence of your Lord in your simple life and realize that if the Creator of the Universe loves to be with you in your ordinary kind of life, than your life is inherently infused with divinity.
If you take the humbler path, you must know that it will take grit, determination, intentionality, sacrifice and hard work. It is no less difficult and requires no less effort than the movers and shakers of this world. But do not be fooled: there are many rewards to this kind of living.
I promise that when all is said and done, if your epitaph merely reads: “here lies a good and humble person”, you will have pursued a lasting kind of greatness.