on opera, marriage, and keeping it simple

For the past few days I have been listening to German operas at lunch. I have enjoyed operas since I was in junior high and stumbled on the The Barber of Seville on the local PBS station. There is something about the theatrics, music, and languages that attracted me. Of course the kids I babysat didn’t think it was that great, I quickly learned it was a fast way to put them to sleep at bedtime.

Years later, I became friends with a young man from Arkansas who was studying music in college, specifically opera. Through Eric, I learned further about opera and the composers as he made mixed tapes of his favorite pieces for me. Every time I hear about a doppleganger I think of Schubert’s opera.

Today I heard a story about a married couple where the wife had some significant debt and the husband told her it was her problem and he wasn’t going to help her deal with it. While I understand the perspective of being responsible for your own actions, it felt like the husband was being selfish. Almost punishing the wife instead of helping her. This is not the way Jesus cares for His Bride, the Church. He was sacrificial of Himself, loving, protecting, caring for His Bride. I was truly sad for their marriage.

As a former staff member at a Scout camp, I have reconnected with a number of other women who were also on staff. We’ve been sharing our years of experience at the camp and other fun stories with each other. As I have read their posts I have been reminded of the simplicity of summers in northern New Mexico. Many of us worked there when pay-phones were the only way to contact our friends and families. When words like Skype or Face-Time would have been made up words, not part of our normal vocabulary. We lived simply, often dressing in period clothing to match the 1800’s era of history we were depicting.

I have brought the simple summer lifestyle into my own. My husband and I grow our own food, raise our own meat, can or dehydrate the fruits and vegetables, and freeze the meat for later. We live without the “bling” of today’s society. I make many things by hand; quilts, knitting, even my own clothes. All in the choice to keep things simple. The life we live is not for many, but it is the life we choose. I would rather work diligently and see success from my hands than success mass-produced without heart.

God has grown me and challenged me on my faith journey. He has helped me recognize the beauty in music, the sanctity of my marriage vows, and the desire to create and appreciate His creation. It may seem like an odd collection of things, but I love dearly this life I have with my family. I am content and blessed. My prayer for you is that you will find the blessings and let go of the struggles and strain. Inhale deeply the amazing life you have and you may be surprised how simple it is to be content.

Come, let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the Lord our Maker; for he is our God and we are the people of his pasture, the flock under his care (Psalm 95:6-7).



About gretchenr17

Wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend. Writer, farmer, fellow sojourner... at every turn I learn a bit more about God's wild mercies.
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