Sometimes I catch myself getting mad at the United States of America. And that’s just silly, now isn’t it? Any specific emotion directed at an entire country seems a little ridiculous. And yet, I do.
Tonight, for example. Josh and I were watching Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations, which I’d never seen before. For anyone like me, Anthony Bourdain is a food journalist, and he travels the world eating the cuisines of various cultures. The episode we watched was the pilot, for which he was in Paris. And he did an excellent job of highlighting one of the things that stuck out to me the most during my time in Europe, one of the things I miss the most. The simplicity of everything, and the complete and unashamed pleasure that Europeans derive from such simple things. A breakfast comprised of a slowly sipped cup of coffee, a freshly baked plain croissant, and the sunrise.
We live in a culture of Grand Slam breakfasts, of more being better, and sometimes it wears on me. The need for so much of so much, the inability to appreciate anything that is not enjoyed in excess. And I stare America in the face on this matter and I get mad.
And then I remember that I don’t have to live that way. Living in a culture of Grand Slam breakfasts is not something I am unquestionably resigned to. I don’t need to move to Paris to be able to live a life of simplicity, to be a person who enjoys a slowly sipped cup of coffee, a freshly-baked plain croissant and the sunrise. Who really tastes. Who really sees. Who really appreciates. Who is not so busily rushing from one thing to the next that something must be five shades of pleasurable for me to take pause and notice it.
This is a recurring theme in my life lately, one that God continues bringing back to my heart time and time again. And so I sit in it, contemplate it, write about it. And here’s where it sits today: I so long to cultivate a life of simplicity. A life of few things that possess great beauty, and whose beauty doesn’t go daily unnoticed by me.
Some days I really just want to go to Paris. When what I should probably be doing is contemplating bringing Paris here.