Simple stories


I joined a group of writers online called Simple Stories. The idea behind the group is to encourage a return to telling our simple stories. You know the ones–the stories about the sweet simplicity of our days and not the huge, life-changing, epiphany type of tales. Because, let’s be honest, everyday life isn’t one huge epiphany after another. Usually, life is one hackneyed meal, untied shoelace, and dirty toilet after another. Except for the times when it isn’t. My life is exceedingly complex at the moment. It is full of jacked up dinners and scrub brushes, but it’s also full of major life changes. I find it hard to tug on the one string that tells a simple story.

Today, I offer you the truth. Our life is crazy. It is not simple or easy or full of epiphanies. It is suitcases and paperwork and lots of teenage tears. We travel non-stop in our free time. Our home must stay in show quality all the time, as the realtor likes to call immediately before she arrives with a prospective renter. We bought a house in the US and I have not seen it in person. Can we let that sink in for a minute? I HAVE NOT seen my own house. I missed two appointments last week, just because. The roofers came to replace the roof and in that process, created a new leak, which ruined my daughter’s bedroom wall. And we have a pile of housewares to sell covering every inch of floor space in my dining room. The realtor is going to love it–I know I do.

Sarah Bessey says “Chaos is my muse”, and while I try to adopt this same mindset, I’m not feeling it right now, Sarah. I’m just not. But then–yesterday. Yesterday, we drove to the Rhine Falls in northern Switzerland, and after I sufficiently (and loudly) shamed my children for ignoring my warnings to dress properly, we sat huddled together on a boat wearing shorts and ballet flats, and sailed straight into the current and the mist of the falls. The water roared around us and our faces tingled with the cold spray and not a one of us complained. We said “wow” as we stared at the rushing water and the one tall rock jutting straight into the sky from the center of the falls. At the top of the rock, a flag waved. It continued to flap in spite of the wind and the chaos created by the incessant rush of water hurling itself at its feet.


We then sailed across the river and climbed to the top of the hill overlooking the falls. We ate lunch and we laughed and we talked and we dreamed together of summer. The sun came out and the kids warmed up and my husband made me giggle and I saw that flag waving in the center of the chaos and we ate mini-pancakes from a curbside stand before making our descent. I laughed to myself at the woman wearing high heels and a miniskirt on a waterfall hike. Then I looked at my daughter with her leggings scrunched into her shoes in an effort to create “socks”, because doesn’t everyone refuse to wear real socks on cold, wet days? And I smiled all over again. We arrived at the bottom just in time for the boat ride back across the river. We climbed on board and we huddled together and I felt the warmth of us from my head to my toes as the current carried us back.


My heart is breaking for the families in Oklahoma today. I’m praying with you from across the ocean, and holding my kids a little closer tonight.