Two completely different articles may have a common theme of simplicity. Today, we hail all the advancements in technology to better connect people and raise the standard of living, and one of the results may be the pursuit of a lifestyle at any cost.

Lost, alone, and afraid.” The first story is a haunting one. A mom shot her daughter and then killed herself. With the exception of the loss of their husband/father, all seemed well. The mom was the mayor of the city in which they lived, and the daughter was set to start college. It all came crashing down earlier this week, when the note left by the mother described their life as “lost, alone, and afraid.”

The questions come quickly as to why didn’t they ask for help; why did their neighbors not sense anything wrong; how could a mom do this to her child; how could someone’s financial troubles be more important than life itself; or why was fear of failing greater than renewing (i.e., starting over) the life they had? How can people become so lost and alone in this hyper-connected world?

There is no way to make sense of it. It just raises questions on community, standard of living consequences, and the importance of faux lives seemingly over all else.

Back to Stone Age.” The second story takes us to a rural community in which the paved roads can no longer be afforded, so they are returned to a gravel state. As the highway superintendant said, “When [counties] had lots of money, they paved a lot of the roads and tried to make life easier for the people who lived out here. Now, it’s catching up to them.”

What was created to make our lives better can no longer be afforded or, worse, burden future generations with the unsupportable maintenance costs. Basic infrastructure is eroding which used to support better living standards and enable us to do more.

Maybe we have gone way past more is better? Is this just a small indication we have gone too far and returning to some sense of simplicity may be a better, more affordable, more meaningful way?

Relating the unrelated. Like I said, these are very separate stories. It may seem a little odd to link them together, yet they do stress a theme of simplicity to me.

We may have gotten caught up in a lifestyle, or a style of living, that is unsustainable and inwardly unrewarding. It may be extinguishing our spirit inside, which is capable of renewal, and our spirit of community, which is capable of reaching out and understanding.

A return to what is important, the basic infrastructure of our lives, may be simply the message.