Monday, May 11, 2015

The Simple Life

This morning I'll tell you about this fantasy I have. Do we know each other well enough for this? Don't worry, it's rated G. Maybe it should even be rated N for nerd.

I'm on my bicycle, riding to church. I imagine I am a simple man, who lives alone with a cat, is rather old, lives in a little village in Europe, and basically does nothing but play the parish organ on Sundays. The little road from my little house goes directly to the little church. It is very peaceful in the morning. The little church probably has only a dozen or so parishioners. I probably only know 5 hymns. I play the single service; I ride home again. I have lunch. It is probably the same thing every week. Life is very basic. And it is a little like a French art film.

Here is the real story. I live in a town of about 100,000. It is not a major metropolitan area, but it is small enough that at times it can pass for a small town, especially at 6:30 on a Sunday morning. I live only a mile and a half from church. When the whether is fine, from May through October, I often ride my bike to church. So fantasy and reality are not really that separate. And I have a cat. But I am not that old, and I know more than 5 hymns.

When I get to the church, things get a lot more complicated. There are usually about 400 in attendance, and we have three services. I play the organ and the piano at the two traditional services, and we have a praise band for the 9 am service. I play the piano and the keyboard for that one also. From the time I enter the building until I leave four and a half hours later I am basically on the run. It is exhilarating. And challenging. There are a lot of things going on. Good things, mostly. And then, when it is over, my wife and I ride home together, discussing the sermon and the day on the way. It is not a bad routine.

But at 6:30 am, all you can hear are the birds. And I like that. I am a sucker for solitude, and for silence, particularly when I know it is about to be in short supply. So before the action begins for the day, I contemplate life as if it were a simple thing, which, ultimately, I suppose it is. Why I have to add to that I don't know. Perhaps in the imagining I don't have to prepare for the sudden intrusion of noise and activity into that simple moment; I can pretend it will go on forever.

It is fun to be someone else for a moment, even though, ultimately, I always realize I would much rather be exactly where I am doing exactly what I do. Truth is, I'd be bored at a little parish church playing only 5 hymns and having coffee with only a dozen people every week after only one service. But you know how complex people are; we like to romanticize simplicity, even if we know it's partially advertising.

Anyway, I'd better get my bike fixed so I can ride it next Sunday. The cap on one of the tires went missing. I hope there is a bicycle shop in my little village so I can get it repaired. Otherwise it will be a major catastrophe, and I rarely ever have to deal with those in my routine, halcyon existence.

You can call me Pierre.

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