Abundant things

I never mentioned that for 2014, the one little word I choose was "abundance." Or rather, it choose me. Over the holidays I read a book of love letters written between Matt's grandparents while they were courting. It was gifted to us by Matt's aunt and is quite a treasure, since we love them so. When they embarked on a long-distance courtship, they were both engaged in full-time professional ministry - his grandmother doing so as a deaconess in Baltimore before the United Methodist church ordained women and his grandfather as a minister in a very small town in Michigan. In the letters, they discussed their mutual commitment to abundant living. His grandma wrote, 
"I'll have to agree again with you, Mac, about the fact that city young people are harder to work with because it takes so much to satisfy them. Really for me, it takes so little (of the right abundant things) to make me happy, grateful, content! Oh! to help them catch that little bit of what it takes to be content."
Having had the pleasure of knowing Matt's grandma for nearly twenty years now, she may be the most consistently content person I've known. She was on to something.

After I couldn't get it out of my head, I looked up the phrase "abundant living" and it turns out the term was popularized by Oral Roberts in the post-war period when Matt's grandparents were quickly falling in love. The sociologist in me thinks that it makes a lot of sense that a theological discussion around abundance took hold as the country entered its most wealthy, consumer-oriented era to date in the 1950's.

Ultimately, I feel the word abundance choose me is because it actually makes me really uncomfortable. Both because of the religiosity around the term, but also because I think of myself as someone who adheres more to a simple living philosophy than to abundant living. But, when I'm honest and look around, I have a lot of stuff. Seriously, we have four computers for two of us. Some of the excess gets in the way of living the way I want to live. But mainly, I just want to more deeply enjoy and get use out of what I have. It goes hand in hand with what I was already setting out to do this year: make a clearing.

At some point well over a year ago, I made a conscious decision to hold back from sharing here the things I was making. I wanted to take the pressure off so I could experiment a little more and just enjoy the making process. I guess I made a clearing of privacy for awhile. I'm glad I did that, but I'm ready to share here more. Sharing right now seems in line with the idea of living abundantly.

So for starters, above is my version of the Simple Sprinkle scarf which is my go-to cowl this very cold winter. I started it last winter to use up yarn scraps, put it aside, and then finished it up in December. The pattern called for a few more repeats, but I thought the shorter length was cozy so I stopped knitting when I felt like stopping.

So that's my plan - more intentionally pick up what's calling me creatively and set aside what I'm not enjoying. Simple and abundant.


Elizabeth Downie said...

I love it. I love the idea of abundant living. I'd love to hear more about this. Matt's grandparents sound awesome.

And the scarf is so pretty - very nice. I hope I can to that sewing class with you!! Miss you!

Stephanie Church said...

<3 <3 <3