The simple life is everywhere. The problem is—it is easily lost in our fast paced, modern world. But, oh how I long for the simple life.
Today’s smile came from a memory. A memory in which I witnessed the simple life at its absolute finest. It was only meant to be a three week holiday to China. It ended up changing my life.
A dangerous bus ride along a road that, really, should not be used. Ever.
A country festival where the only toilets were troughs to be shared by the thousands upon thousands of festival dwellers. Troughs. With no flush. Yes. It was a simple place where people lived the simple life. And lived it well.
Country folk, however poor they were, lived with the smiles of the rich on their faces. Some lived in caves and yet, still, they gifted me their hard earned pomegranate pickings from the day’s haul. Refusing the precious goods would have offended.
And the city folk. They spoke mandarin. I spoke English. We laughed together as we realised that the two do not work in conversation. Our laughter filled entire rooms. That made my heart smile because, though our words were useless, we understood the laughter and each other’s body language, perfectly.
On a trip to the markets, I floundered amongst the games other westerners played to score a bargain. Why should I barter these poor people down when I was fairly certain that they needed this money far more than I? It just didn’t seem right.
So, in the middle of a small market stall, mid barter, I began to cry. The shop keeper’s eyes fell as he looked at the poor western girl in distress. He felt sorry for ME. He felt so sorry for me that he gave me a scarf. He gave me a scarf.
I still have that scarf. I don’t wear it because it is ugly. But it is my most prized possession. It reminds me that there is true good in this world.
So, yes. I will keep dreaming of the simple life and, when I do, I will remember the kindness of the people I met in China. I will remember the simple lives they led and how pleased they were to be living them. Whole families, fulfilled by life’s simple pleasures.
I will teach my Son to live with that same kindness in his heart. Hopefully it will help him find his own version of the simple life. If that’s what he chooses for himself, of course.
I really do hope that it is.