Less is More
by Billy Beasley
Less is more, is one of my favorite quotes to live by. We can relate it to material things and when I think of it in that vein—I can hear the wisdom of something spoken to me a long time ago. “The more stuff you have. The more stuff you have to keep up with.”
These are pretty simple statements, but I hope we don’t dismiss it based on that. In my latest novel, The Girl in the River, the main character says this about one of his sons.
He is never content. One year he is collecting antique cars. The next he may sell them to buy sculptures. His wife and he seem to collect everything but treasured memories.
We know people like this, don’t we? And what they accumulate will never be enough. They will find temporary happiness in these things, but it will prove fleeting. It is this void inside of them and they keep pouring things in it to try to fill it. And they keep failing.
But Less is More, applies to more than the assets we own or perhaps they own us in some cases. The last sentence quoted from, The Girl in the River, talks about treasured memories. I hope our treasured memories come from what we hold in our heart. My favorite scripture, even before I released and asked God to be first in my life, is Luke 12:34.
What are some of the treasures you hold in your heart? Some that come to mind immediately are the smile in my wife, Julie’s eyes, when she looks at me after over seven years of marriage. The way our cattle dog likes to begin her day. She lays in the bed between us and stares at the ceiling as we kiss her face and love on her. At some point she will tuck her head under my chin and hold it there tightly. I believe that is her safe place. My son, Micah, was home for a few days at Thanksgiving. I still chuckle at things said and the laughter shared. I have made more than my share of mistakes as a parent but one thing I feel good about is the laugher that Micah and I have enjoyed together and now Julie gets to be a part of that as well.
The Holidays are upon us. Thanksgiving has passed. Christmas is less than two weeks away. The Holidays can be such a challenge on their own and now we have the year that is COVID. There will not be the parties that we are accustomed too. Personally, I have had several friends over for Christmas Lasagna, a few days before Christmas. It is a tradition that goes back many years. We won’t be doing that.
Traveling will be restricted for many of us. We may not be able to satisfy that need to please everyone. I enjoy the Holidays. One reason is that I get uninterrupted time with my son. That is a treasure. But I don’t pressure him to be here at a certain time and place. Some people spend so much time traveling trying to please parents, grandparents, in-laws, friends, and the list goes on. They are exhausted by the time the Holidays are over. This year people probably won’t do that, and my hope is that we learn from it. We can’t please everyone. It will always prove to be an impossible task.
As bad as COVID has been perhaps we can also learn from it. Our Thanksgiving was just Julie, Micah, Teke and me. I love my family and my wife’s family. Please don’t misunderstand. But at the end of the evening Thanksgiving night, I said to my wife and son, “I believe this has been my favorite Thanksgiving in my life.” That covers a lot of years, as I turned sixty-four last month. The simplicity of it. My son, going for a walk in the woods with Teke and I. We all went to get a Christmas tree together. Julie and Micah decorated it. We watched Christmas movies. There was no huge dinner to fuss over and get stressed that everyone gets fed at a certain time. I sat outside, listening to music and smoking baby back ribs on my grill. The grill my wife bought me for our seventh anniversary. Okay, now that is a wonderful possession. I love my grill, but the thoughtfulness of the gift is what I treasure the most. Julie and Micah cooked together in the kitchen making the side dishes.
Maybe we won’t all be able to travel and see everyone at Christmas but maybe we can treasure the simplicity that may be forced upon us but also might enable us to see more clearly when we make Holiday plans next year. And in the spirit of the season, we could also look for those opportunities to help those that are alone.
I have written before that the mental issues that many are dealing with as a result of COVID or made worse by it concern me as much as COVID does. Probably even more so. COVID will eventually end but people are not going to be able to flip a switch and make anxiety or depression simply depart with it. As one who has suffered with that black hole of darkness, that is where my greater concern lies.
I am not arrogant in my faith. I am not going to be that person arguing on social media, swinging scriptures at people like a battering ram. I was telling Julie last night that I am grateful that in this year of COVID that our faith has remained greater than our fear.
We can’t banish our fears with denominational routines and traditions. We can’t rid our fears with the comfort of a certain church. Some have succumbed to fear by attempting to control not only their every movement but try to control those around them.
Control is an illusion and the sooner we recognize it our life will get exponentially better.
Sadly, I find that people with control issues have been that way so long and it is so ingrained in them that they can’t see it. And I know good Christians that are that way.
Julie and I are certainly no better than anyone. I always think I am the bottom rung of Christianity. But we have relationship with the Son of God. We don’t have religion. We don’t cling to a denomination. We know we can’t control life. We can be cautious, and we are. But in the end, we choose to trust God. And to trust Him not with our words but with our actions.
Jesus in our hearts. Placed first above all our plans. Yes, we, I, all slip up on this one but I return to Lord.
You are the potter. I am the clay and it is not the other way around. Now that is a treasure.
He is bigger than our fears. Let’s continually invite Him to be more than anything else in our life.
Less is More. I believe those three words to be three of the wisest words we could ever hear if we put them to use in our daily lives.
Merry Christmas Everyone.
About the Author
Billy Beasley resides in Carolina Beach, NC with his wife Julie and their Australian Cattle Dog, Teke.
The Preacher’s Letter is his second traditionally published work of fiction.
Billy’s shares two simple beliefs with his favorite character in his first novel, The River Hideaway—Faith in God and a conviction that ‘Hearts have no color’. His third novel, The Girl in the River, released in July 2020.
You can read his “Sunday Inspiration” column on the 2nd Sunday each month here at Mustard Seed Sentinel.