Tuesday, October 15, 2013

The Simple Life

I've always had a desire to live life as simply as possible. I recall first yearning for the "simple" life when I was in high school although the seed may have been planted in third grade by reading "Little House in the Big Woods" and "The Boxcar Children".  I was amazed at what people could do with so little. I think I romanticized the idea of the simple life while living a life where my every need and most of my wants were provided for. When it comes to reality, I'm not sure I would think the simple life were all that great.

These past two weeks, I've lived life with people who have mastered the simple life. And their joy is contagious. And it makes me realize the simple life really is that great. So how do I bring that home? I wish I had the answer.  

My life in the Vail Valley is blessed and full.  I don't like to use the word busy so I've learned to use the word "full" instead.  I really do enjoy most of the "busyness" in my life so if I say I'm busy, it's like I resent the things that make me busy.  And that is not the case. 

So I had to come to Nepal to rest. This is Goal #4.  Rest. Since my sabbatical officially began in June, I don't feel like I have really had an opportunity to rest until last week.  I knew I would have to wait until my time here to achieve Goal #4.  And it has been glorious. 

Annette and I settled into a routine of a leisurely breakfast / wifi time in the morning. We've sought some sort of outing during the midday such as hikes to the nearby monasteries...

or sights such as Swayambu (aka The Monkey Temple)...

and Bhaktapur (my fave)...

We come back to the Nobel Peace Prize Hotel to rest (yay 20 minute power naps) and read (We both read an AWESOME book called "Little Princes" which I highly recommend although it might hit closer to home for us because it explains the child trafficking that happened during the war in Nepal, written by a guy who came to volunteer at an orphanage for three months at the beginning of his year long round the world trip. I'm not making this up. You can see why we were hooked.).  Then we venture up to the First Love Children's Home to hang with the kids. We play around the house, then go down to the "playground" (which is a long strip of pavement and a few unplanted plots of land) and play (get a glimpse here: http://www.magisto.com/video/IUcFPllbETsoTg1gCzE) then back to the house for "fellowship" for a time of worship, prayer and the Word. To see kids worship and pray is a beautiful thing. All of them pray at the same time, ages 4 to 12 and it makes me smile. I sneak a peek at them every once in awhile even though they never do. Phonus walks us home and we grab dinner and check email at The Way Cafe before they close at 8. And then lights out sometime between 9 and 10. 

I have come to love this routine.  When I committed to volunteering during this year (while in Nepal and again in Peru next spring), I have been very clear in explaining that I wanted to spend about 20 hours a week volunteering. I hoped this would allow me to achieve rest-time. (Just to put it in perspective of how much I long for this time, I sit on my couch at home for MAYBE 2 hours each week. Some weeks it doesn't happen at all.  This is how I came to realize that a Sabbatical year might be a good idea.) And it has happened. 

But I have also had some action-packed time with 16 amazing kids. 

This is what happens when they see me pull out my phone for a picture. Time lapse photos of about 5 seconds...

We have gathered bits and pieces of most of their stories and each one is remarkable.  Ruth was born in a forest. Sangay's mom died giving birth to her. Peter's father's death is related to alcohol. And Thoduk's father was a Maoist rebel and persecuted the very people who are now raising his son. He was killed in the war.  In Nepal, you are considered an orphan if you have lost one of your parents. Many of the kids here have lost one parent but a few still have both. We have learned that it is very common for families living in the villages to try to provide their children with opportunity by sending them to Kathmandu to get an education as education and opportunities in general are lacking in the villages.  There are many "hostels" for these kids who live here and get an education here as well. The home we have been spending time at is providing this type of opportunity to these 16 kids as well as providing a Christian upbringing. All the kids here have ties with the Tibetan community, where Buddhism is the traditional religion. I only wish I could ask each if them their stories.  But regardless of where they have been, today they are truly joy-filled kids. They love and care for one another. And I have been blessed to spend the last two weeks with them. 

So, while I've had a glimpse of the joy found in simplicity and rest, I will be taking a 2 week break from this lifestyle by making a trek to Everest Base Camp ("Lord and weather willing") but then will resume the "simple" life in a Nepal location to be determined...  Still living out Goal #3: Flexibility. 

Until next time, prayers for safety and health are appreciated!  

1 comment:

  1. Way to Go Ashley! Keep pursuing Goal #4-especially after your trek to base camp!