Less is More

We all have very different personality traits, some positive some not. By nature I am one of those people that has to be anxiously engaged, always on the go, never content to sit still. If we go to the beach, I’m all up for the walk there, carrying the beach equipment, putting up the beach tent, building sandcastles… but when the activity stops I’m always wondering “What are we doing next?” Never content to just sit and watch – let alone Do Nothing But Relax.

In many ways my coping mechanism is to fix things. On the day my mum past away, I spent a fair amount of time straightening the ceiling tiles in the room of the hospice she was in. I’m tall so why wouldn’t I? Its only when you step away from a situation you realise that your own coping strategies may be either annoying or seemingly inappropriate to others.

I started by saying “by nature” and did so on purpose. We are not slaves to our nature, we can change. Over the last few months I have begun to learn to sit and enjoy the world. Probably due to forced stillness in extended periods of Covid lock-down, helped by coaching from Mrs. RJR.

My work (RJR Originals) involves the renovation and repair of church buildings, last week, along with another contractor we made significant changes to the front of a local chapel. This job has made me ponder the idea of Less is More.

First up is a picture of the view you would have had, seated in the congregation. Try imagining yourself sat for an hour listening to sermons and speakers with the backdrop of the elaborate brick wall. In fact you don’t have to imagine, just look at the picture for a short while !!

The contract we were awarded, was to simplify the view, proposing several minimalist options for an appropriate detail motif. Our submitted design, that was approved by the Facilities Management department, reflected the groups of 3 panels on the modesty rail, and the 3 vertical bars on the pulpit. Vertical lines, like steeples are used to draw the eye heavenward.

(Why The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints does not use crosses in their decor)

Below is how the view now looks for the congregation.

What has struck me most looking at the end result, is that I often try to fit to much into my life, constantly trying to be busy, but like the brickwork, too much detail is distracting. Serenity often comes when our view is simplified and this in turn allows us to be more focused. This is not to say I will be spending the rest of my life in quiet meditation. But I will strive to remove some mental clutter and have enough peaceful moments, to allow a profound thought each day.

Striving to have a less cluttered mind allowed me to notice a tiny flower by the church door. Another lesson learnt, no matter how harsh the environment we can succeed.

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2 comments

  1. Reminds me when we did the front of Hyde Ward a few years ago to match the front wall that had been changed from stone to wood and you marched the wood on the pulpit to the wall behind it.
    Very enjoyable job!.

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    • Took me back down memory lane 55yrs, soon as I saw the first image ‘oh, thats the inside of a Mormon Church’ my mind said then a smile spread as I read the blue print proving me right and then the phrase that was dutifully said came flooding back ‘we fold our arms and bow our heads and close our eyes whilst prayers are said’. Very still very minimal very clean kinda sterility uncluttered an empty quiet all about and one hell of loud hullabaloo going on in the recreation room where the kids would clutter together Thursday youth club, yeah! Happy days. Hmmmm uncluttering the mind thats a job and a half or more to my way of thinking. Enjoyed your writing very much ,thankyou

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