Over the last few years when people learned about my 100 Thing Challenge, they asked me questions. It has been my experience that many people asked the same questions on the surface while seeking answers to deeper questions in their hearts. So, I got questions like,
“What things did you keep?”
“What was the hardest thing to get rid of?”
There is a measure of curiosity in all of us, and thus there is a element of sincerity in those questions. Perhaps some people are only interested in questions like those. Yet many people, as we talked more, indicated they were after answers to questions less about my experience and more about their life purpose.
“Why is this possession so important to me that I cannot imagine living life without it?”
“Why do I want that thing so much that I have become obsessed with acquiring it?”
“Why does my spouse love that material object with all his heart, mind, and strength . . . if I am honest, seemingly even more than he loves me?”
The easier questions in life are fun to ask and lead to answers that satisfy our curiosities. They help us establish relationships with others and are a gateway to learning about the world. Such questions should roll off our tongues and the answers to them should make our hearts and minds smile. This is good.
Just do not be afraid to keep probing. “Where did you go to college?” Good question. Surely an interesting answer. And when you get a minute to yourself ask, “Why do I want to go to college?” “Just to get a better-paying job than other people?” “Will a college education make me a better person?” “Is virtue important enough to me that I would be willing to spend four years intensely studying it and proactively nurturing it in my life?” “Why or why not?”
The hustle of a consumer lifestyle keeps our days and our questions at the surface. One of the great blessings of simplicity is that it provides the physical, emotional, and spiritual space we need to be more thoughtful people, to ask deeper questions.