|Easter Sunday 2018|
My Mum and Dad had eight children. They also owned a goat dairy, so I like to say they had eight children and five kids.One day, when I was about 5, Dad and the goats left and it was just Mum and us children. This was before the government decided to pitch in to help families like ours and so things were pretty tough. I remember going to a farmer's house and waiting for the ute to arrive from the bakery. You see, the farmer had pigs and twice a week they collected the stale bread from the bakery to feed them. If we were lucky there was a sugar bun. Every so often we would call by the Weet-bix factory and collect a bag of sweepings for breakfast. I'll never understand why people throw out the crushed biscuits.
Our neighbour had a fruit stall at the city market. Once fruit was deemed unsalable it was tossed over a bank on their property. We learnt to cut out bad bits from our apples, and never went without. If we wanted lollies we would have to walk two kilometers to the shop and hope we found a bottle we could cash-in along the roadside. T.V was something our other neighbour had and once a week we would all walk the long dark drive-way to watch The Wonderful World of Disney. I'll never forget the day they got colour.
Every now and then we would bundle into the car and make the journey to the city, some 35 kilometers away. It was always a night of wonder as we walked past the shops looking into the brightly lit windows at all the available items. Mum called it "Window Shopping," but never seemed to find one to buy. Our clothes came in big bags from friends or sometimes anonymously. Later, my sister learnt to sew and started making us NEW clothes. Someone knitted us jumpers. Shoes? Who needed shoes? Toys were what we could make ourselves and at Christmas time we would often find a soup mix hidden in our stocking. You know, a potato an onion and a carrot. We all thought it was funny and for weeks after we would walk around in socks that had been stretched to fit the bounty.
Thing is, I didn't see myself as different or in anyway disadvantaged. I had my family, my Mother's love and a generally happy childhood. Sure it was a simple life but we were happy. But something changed as I grew older and ventured out on my own. Somewhere I learnt that other people didn't always view things the same way and that my idea of simple living, was to them, simply living. It messed me up, causing damage to my self-esteem. Where I was once a problem solver, now I was just a man with problems. A spendthrift; now I was just poor. A caring and sharing person; now I began to consider my gifts unsuitable. Simply living was a one-way train I boarded at a station called anxiety on the way to a destination called depression.
The older I got, the more I began to resent simply living and yearn for the..... whatever it was that everyone had that made them so happy that I didn't have. It wasn't until I met Franny that I realised the difference between simple living and simply living is the "WHY."
WHY, brings opportunities, possibilities and solutions. WHY, energizes, enables and equips. It turns simply living into living simply. Once you make that switch, anything is possible.