Simplifying Things

As we continue to struggle through these uncertain days, I recently came across a reminder of what is truly important from an old source. I am sure many of you remember Robert Fulghum’s “All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten”.

Here are some words from Fulghum to help keep you centered:

“All I really need to know about how to live and what to do and how to be, I learned in kindergarten. Wisdom was not at the top of the graduate school mountain, but there in the sand-pile at Sunday School. These are the things I learned:

Share everything. Play fair. Don’t hit people. Put things back where you found them. Clean up your own mess. Don’t take things that aren’t yours. Say you’re sorry when you hurt somebody. Wash your hands before you eat. Flush. Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you. Take a nap every afternoon.

Be aware of wonder. Remember the little seed in the Styrofoam cup: The roots go down and the plant goes up and nobody really knows how or why, but we are all like that.

Goldfish and hamsters and white mice and even the little seed in the Styrofoam cup—they all die. So do we.

Think what a better world it would be if we all—the whole world—had cookies and milk at about 3 o’clock every afternoon and then lay down with our blankies for a nap. Or, if all governments had as a basic policy to always put things back where they found them and to clean up their own mess.

And it is still true, no matter how old you are: When you go out into the world, it is best to hold hands and stick together.”

When things around you feel out of control, it is best to return to the basics and these are the basics.

In the end, we learn the same thing from every religious tradition and every beckoning of our conscience: What matters is kindness. What matters is thoughtfulness. What matters is being on your best behavior and looking out for one another.

We have a habit of complicating things. Of course, with a 2,000-year-old tradition like Christianity, we have had plenty of time and lots of practice doing just that! And yet, I think if we were to ask Jesus to sum up what he was trying to teach us, he would simply say:

“Listen to God. Listen to yourself. Act out of the best person you are. Do that, and you’ll be fine.”

See you in church,

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