The Joy Of Simple Things

Our New Year will be a teenager before we know it. It has been said that ‘Time waits for no man’ and I have found this to be true. The older I become I have found that life’s happiness is not contained in things. As a younger man, I strove to have nice things for MJ and Aaron, and Jonathon. I would be disingenuous if I did not admit that I strove to keep up with the Joneses…at least a bit. I felt keenly my lack against my peer’s fine automobiles and homes and financial success. Having grown up somewhat poor I wanted to shake the feeling of want that was my shadow as a child. By the time of my retirement over 12 years ago…I had learned that all that glitters is not gold and the chasing of more money is a hollow enterprise.

The Woods has been my pleasure for the past months. All of 2022 I engaged in a photo project of capturing images across Southern Illinois…with Eldorado as my primary focus…and seeking the knowledge of nature in Giant City State Park which is just down the road from my house.

Contentment is contained in the ordinary. The popular singer James Taylor told us that ‘the secret of life was enjoying the passing of time…and any fool can do it…there ain’t nothing to it.’ As I walk through the dead leaves and photograph their majestic colors I see the handiwork of God. I had a friend and colleague years ago who told me that instead of going to church on Sunday he went to the woods…I can see why at times. We place too many demands on each other. We expect standards of others that we do not keep ourselves. It has been assumed for several years that everyone must have a University education. Not all are a good fit for academic pursuits. Our measure of success is how much wealth we have acquired. Many churches preach that if you give…until it hurts…to the church…you will receive abundant monetary wealth. This vicious cycle is exemplified in poor hard working congregants giving and robbing from their family’s welfare…only to be told that the reason that they have not become rich is that they have not given enough…

Pleasing the narrow constraints of another human is not only confining but often impossible. Dictatorial humans are mercurial. Just about the time that you think that you have made the grade and fulfilled the requirements…the goalposts are moved and the game begins anew!

Please yourself first…and others will love you for your authenticity. We all are looking for the unique and the different and the person who truly does their own thing. That is why Waldo can be found in the crowd…

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