Willow Wonderings

Simple Gifts

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‘Tis the gift to be simple,

’tis the gift to be free’

Tis the gift to come down where we ought to be,

And when we find ourselves in the place just right,

‘Twill be in the valley of love and delight.

When true simplicity is gain’d,

To bow and to bend we shan’t be asham’d,

To turn, turn will be our delight,

Till by turning, turning we come ’round right.
Today, I begin a new semester. As I wake this morning to a peaceful room lit by the calm, January rain, I feel blessed by an abundant life. My heart feels full after reuniting with friends yesterday and spending time in prayer last night. This is true abundance: waking to a brand new day with a joyful heart.
In recent weeks, I have contemplated the meaning of abundance in relation to simplicity. The verse, “I have come that they may have an abundant life” (John 10:10) does not refer to Christ bringing us the rewards or external validations of worldly “success”; rather, it speaks to the flourishing landscape within the Soul when centered in God. The abundance of simple gifts – belly laughter, a peace that overwhelms dark times, love that overcomes fear of rejection – can only be seen through eyes of faith.
Yet these gifts do not come through labor or popularity. They come without our own “doing”, but rather our surrendering, opening, listening – and most importantly, slowing down, being still, listening in silence. To cultivate these gifts, we need to listen to the Spirit encouraging us to be love. Through this act of obedience, we may open to being transformed as channels of God’s peace.
To begin this semester, I pray to continually “turn ’round right” until my mind, heart, and soul are guided by the Spirit within. I pray that while I tend to look to grades, “achievements”, or relationships that feed my ego, I will continually surrender myself to God’s abundant love. Being centered in a channel of God’s grace: this is the abundance of simplicity.
As we all begin our new years from different perspectives, I pray that our schedules, thoughts, and lifestyles will cherish the Simple Gifts present in our daily lives.
This is abundance:
the joy that follows the gift
of deep surrender.
This is abundance:
the nestling of the small self
in Holy branches.
This is abundance:
to love all of Creation as
a mirror of God.
This is abundance:
slowing down, simplifying,
to make space for peace.

One thought on “Simple Gifts

  1. Beautiful, Elizabeth—one of my favorites that you’ve written. I pray you have a wonderful start to your new semester!

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