When I think of bringing simplicity into my meal planning, some of the first things that come to mind are:
- having the kids help me make salads from our backyard garden
- trying out vegetarian recipes from fancy organic living magazines
- using more locally produced foods
- checking lables to ensure all food ingredients are things I understand
These are all wonderful goals, and some days I can pull off one or two of them, and then I feel so good about myself. Last night, I opted for a very different kind of simplicity - one that doesn't make me sound so impressive, but one that is equally important, I believe. So here goes.
Last night for dinner, I opened two cans of Harris Teeter's Beef Ravioli, put it into three bowls, and tossed them into the microwave. I got out a bag of baby carrots, (I'm sure they weren't grown locally), and I placed them on the table with a bottle of Italian salad dressing (not made from scratch, and probably containing many ingredients I couldn't pronounce -- I didn't check). It didn't matter, because the kids filled up on ravioli and didn't even touch the carrots - and I didn't insist. Then I brushed their teeth, and with a completely clean conscience, I put them to bed. So what do you think?
I think that we western competitive over-achievers are capable of messing up any good thing, and Simplicity is no different. While I know that my friends will not judge me for frequently missing the mark, sometimes it's hard to quiet the critical voices inside my own mind. As we explore options for doing things in better ways, we must acknowledge that each choice requires tradeoffs (time/money/earth-friendly/healthy). We won't ever get it all right at the same time, and that's probably great, as it will keep us from thinking too highly of our awesome selves.
I guess I'm just trying to say that the freedom that comes with living simply comes ONLY when we let go of our ego's need to overachieve in this area, and practice grace, extending it to ourselves as freely as we know God does. I know we are all in agreement that it is God, and not Simplicity, whom we worship!! I am learning that it's crucial give myself a break (ok, many breaks) along this journey.