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This week looked complicated until I got sick. Then it got very simple: Sleep and get better. And somehow the world did not lose its way without all that I had planned to do. Life has a way of humbling me like that.

There are so many things that I feel I need to do or have. But when they are put beyond my reach by sickness or hardships, life actually gets simpler. And I notice things that I rushed by before: The golden rays of the sunrise falling on my sleeping wife, the whisper of God in a lingering quiet time, the late blooming roses in the backyard. Dad often told me to stop and smell the roses, but I rarely did.

Years ago a wise friend gave me this inspiring thought from the mystic E. Herman, and it continues to shimmer on the horizon of what I long to become:

When we read the lives of the saints, we are struck by a certain large leisure which went hand in hand with a remarkable effectiveness.

They never hurried;
They did comparatively few things,
And these not necessarily striking or important;
And they troubled very little about their influence.

Yet they always seemed to hit the mark;
Every bit of their life told;
Their simplest actions had a distinction,
An exquisiteness which suggested the artist.

The reason is not far to seek.
Their sainthood lay in their habit of referring the smallest actions to God.

They lived in God; they acted from a pure motive of love towards God.

They were as free from self-regard as from slavery to the good opinions of others. God saw and God rewarded: What else needed they? They possessed God and possessed themselves in God.

Hence the inalienable dignity of these meek, quiet figures that seem to produce such marvelous effects with such humble materials.

How are the “hardships” of your life leading you back to simplicity?

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