Saturday, May 23, 2009

Living without

We have become accustomed to having so much, and it's ruining us spiritually and physically. No more hunting and gathering, no more hard work just to earn the basic necessities of life.

I don't think we want to go back to the past, though! Barefoot and pregnant, diseased and bug-ridden ... no thanks. But our modern disease is that there a disconnect between what we do every day and what we need to live. What does watching "American Idol" have to do with a meaningful life? (I don't watch it, but many people do.)

Some people are catching on and reconnecting with the natural world, the source of life, in meaningful ways. Local and organic is how everyone on the planet used to eat. That's why the best nutrition advice may be to eat what your grandparents, or their grandparents, ate. But don't eat as much or indulge in full-fat dairy, because you aren't spending your days at hard labor on the farm!

My family is becoming more aware of how to live without some of the luxuries that clutter our lives. The economic downturn has affected us, as it has so many. Could this be an opportunity in disguise?

We just disconnected cable TV, which was connected when Dwaine's mom was living with us. We have a garden that we are eating from daily (even if it's just a salad pepper! Hey, it counts). We are going to buy a couple of clotheslines; my vote is for retractable. I'm not to the stage where I will gladly hang every sock outdoors to dry, but the sheets and towels are just fine. Our vehicles have well over 100k miles on them (well, that's nothing new). I am actually stocking up on groceries when they are on sale.

I know these are baby steps compared to people who already are living more in harmony with the environment, and much more frugally than us, but they are still progress. I am fortunate to know people in our community who live at the poverty level; they are not always easy to spot. They wear the same clothes until they're worn out; they eat simple and inexpensive foods, which usually means plant-based. They don't go out to events that cost money, because they have none.

My friend whose husband cannot find work will get a store-bought cake for her daughter if she meets her goals at school. Her daughter is very excited about the prospect.

My son, on the other hand, was distraught that he might not be able to buy the latest electronic gadget. I did not intend to raise him this way, but he has never had to go without, even for a day in his life.

Blessed are the poor; but I am not ready to have that kind of blessing in my life.

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