Notes from Jan

Keep it Simple, Saint.

August 23, 2021

A strange directive from Jesus to the twelve disciples, “Don’t take anything with you.”Jesus gave them power and authority to cast out demons and heal all diseases. Then, he added,” Don’t take anything with you, not even a walking stick.” (Luke 9, NLT) The Message translation reads,” Don’t load yourselves up with equipment. Keep it simple; you are the equipment.” Them? You? Me? We are it? What about just one carry-on bag?

So how did we get from being the equipment to working so hard to accumulate it?

This morning I read Cassady Rosenblum’s article in the NY Times, “Work is a False Idol.” In her piece she referred to Mr. Luo, a worker in China and promoter of the “lying flat” movement. He asserts his “right to choose a slow life style.” For many middle class Chinese the usual work week is from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. six days a week. For some, “work has become intolerable. Rest is resistance.” And Tricia Hersey, in Atlanta, promotes The Nap Ministry, a gospel of sleep, “as resistance and reparation.”

So where’s this going? Well, yesterday was Sunday. God’s idea of rest, a blessed interlude between what was and what’s ahead. God knows we need it, so commanded us to “remember to observe the Sabbath.’ “(Deuteronomy 15:12-15, NLT) We forget sometimes. One of the gifts of growing older is contentment with less stuff and more gratitude for God’s ongoing reminders, “you are the equipment.” Still? Still. Our work matters but we and our relationship with God and others matters more. Still, I need reminders “to keep it simple.”

Sometimes I feel like the little kid in Sunday School who didn’t want to go back. When his mama asked why he said, “I already know more than I do.”

Me, too.

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  • Reply Radina Welton August 23, 2021 at 5:23 pm

    Thank you! Was feeling guilty for taking two naps today. But, shucks!, I’m 80! Rest is a sacred act.

    • Reply Jan Carlberg August 23, 2021 at 5:48 pm

      So good to hear from you, Radina! You’ve entered a guilt-free zone when it comes to naps. And yes, rest is sacred and healthy for body, mind and soul. But now I’m talking to the choir. Congratulations on being 80. I’m eighty-won!

  • Reply Radina Welton August 23, 2021 at 7:37 pm

    You are definitely a winner, Jan!

  • Reply Peggy Clarke August 23, 2021 at 10:39 pm

    YES! “…contentment with less stuff and more gratitude”. During this pandemic I have taken the opportunity to divest myself of so many things. I’ve cleaned out closets, deleted years’ old emails, sorted through stacks of papers on my desk and filed them. Whew it feels so good! I have slowed down enough to read an old journal from when I was 11 years old, and also one my Great Grandmother and my Grandmother kept from 1932! It has all been so rewarding and am grateful for the time to have to spend on such endeavours. Thanks for you thoughtful words, Jan…as always!

    • Reply Jan Carlberg August 25, 2021 at 9:03 am

      Thanks for reading and sharing something good coming from lock down during the pandemic, Peggy. I’ve been doing the same…but am much slower at it than you. I spend half the time weeping or laughing. Both heal.

  • Reply Toni Lovingood August 24, 2021 at 10:47 am

    What a wonderful thought to keep it simple, not be weighed down with stuff and take time to be quiet.
    Jan, Like a little child at Christmas I was beyond astonished and thankful to receive your package. What a treasure!!! I will be a good steward and pass on to others. I can’t wait to say more in a thank-you note.
    Thank you is not enough.

    • Reply Jan Carlberg August 25, 2021 at 9:05 am

      You are welcome, Toni. We’re all stewards. God trusts us. Heaven only knows why.

  • Reply Sue Andringa August 24, 2021 at 11:03 am

    I love this, Jan … and you! I recently discovered Chuck Girard and his song “Slow Down”. It is WONDERFUL … “slow down and know that He is God!” Check it out … it will bless you.

    • Reply Jan Carlberg August 25, 2021 at 9:10 am

      Thanks, sweet Sue. I’ll check out the song. The lyrics you shared already hooked me. We have trouble with being still in this culture, like to do so is to be lazy, slothful. Growing older’s forced me to slow down. It’s not all bad. I’m finding it’s one of God’s “perks” for aging. There are many for which I’m both amazed and grateful.

  • Reply Evelyn M Morgan August 24, 2021 at 9:39 pm

    When I saw your headline SAINT, it reminded me of a pastor I once had who told us we can all be saints on Sunday. Sunday Afternoon Is Nap Time (acrostic).
    Thanks for reminding me to get rid of STUFF. I have gotten rid of so much STUFF with each move, but then accumulate more. Treasures from friends over the years are so hard to part with. I feel like they help me remember those special people in my life, which is why I can’t easily part with a special wood carving that you know about.

  • Reply Jan Carlberg August 25, 2021 at 9:22 am

    Me, too, Evie. It’s those connections to friends and family that give me pause. Some I keep, others I try to pass along to my kids.. None got the sentimental gene! Grands are more receptive, especially if I tell them the story behind the object. Others I keep “until death do us part” and my kids bury me, then start filling a dumpster.! Fun acrostic for S A I N T. I suspect many a baby’s life began during a Sunday afternoon “nap”.

  • Reply dale August 27, 2021 at 7:41 am

    In your presence Lord there is comfort; work can wait.

    Thanks Jan, Dale

    • Reply Jan Carlberg August 30, 2021 at 10:43 am

      And yet, a struggle for many to simply rest. We are in a state of dis-ease from so much gone wrong, much of our own making or those on whom we placed our trust. Thanks, dear friend, for the reminder to rest in God as I weep over Afghanistan, fires, floods, hurricanes, pandemics and politics on both sides of the aisle. Lord, have mercy. This morning as I listened to Dean Robert at Canterbury,he reminded us that John Bunyan died on this date in 1688. He read some lines from Bunyan’s’Pilgrim’s Progress, reminding us Christian’s companion was Hopeful. What a needed friend as we, like Christian, journey on.

  • Reply Wendy September 1, 2021 at 7:10 pm

    Oh my – so good! We are at the age or stage?! of trying to get rid of stuff. Why is it so hard?! I’m going to read this one out loud to my sweet husband who has a harder time than I do of getting rid of things. 🙂 We are the equipment. Going to keep that in mind. Thank you!

    • Reply Jan Carlberg September 1, 2021 at 9:52 pm

      It is so hard. But I keep at it…little by little. But I feel like it multiplies in the dark! Maybe I need to keep a light on!

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