The modern era in the USA.
The era of instant messaging, instant email, instant food. Grocery stores and sixteen fast food joints per square mile. Smart phones that tell us the time, day, year, how many emails or texts we have, which direction we are headed, how many steps we’ve taken or how to get to our destination. They tell us the score of the game, stream the game, give us highlights. We are more connected to everyone than ever before in the history of mankind and have unlimited access to information – accurate or not – and we can share our opinion in more ways that we even HAVE opinions. Everything comes pre-processed, pre-packaged, and sometimes, even pre-used (made from recycled materials).
Yet we are lonely people, wasting our lives away, and garbaging up the planet as we go.
My husband and I have decided to try to live a more sustainable and stewardly life. We have tried to do this in the past, but I think that as we’ve gotten older, we’ve realized that we need to be more strategic about how we make this move. We have tried to do gardens for the past few years never being too successful. Generally, we plant too many tomatoes and we don’t eat them or we don’t really take care of the garden or any one of a hundred other things that make a garden unsuccessful for us. If I’m really honest, I would have to say that we never really committed to living more sustainably so the garden was never much of a priority. This year, we didn’t plant a garden. I finally am able to just focus on keeping weeds down instead of weeds down, plants up, fruits harvested and preserved.
We have also made the transition to cloth diapers and wipes for the baby. This not only saves us money, but we’re no longer throwing away pounds and pounds of diapers and wipes in non-biodegradable plastic bags. Instead, we have this:
That is my homemade drying line for the cloth diapers. I’m saving on electricity by air drying and the sun bleaches everything. WIN!
I didn’t realize right away how committed I was to doing these things for environmentally friendly reasons. Recently, though, I had to use disposable diapers for a bit because I had run out of cloth diapers. I realized how good it felt to toss dirty diapers into a wash bin instead of a trash bin. It felt good to reuse old t-shirts for wipes instead of just throwing them away. It feels good knowing that we are doing our part.
As a Christian, I also have to acknowledge that I am a steward of everything in my possession. My house, my husband, my dogs, my daughter, my material things – none of them actually belong to me and I have to make sure that I am doing the best I can do to take care of them. We as humans are stewards of the Earth. We have to make sure that we are taking care of it too. Finally, we are stewards of our bodies. What are we putting into our bodies? What are we doing with them? We have been making a concerted effort to put better food into our bodies. Fewer pre-packaged meals. More fruits and veggies. More real meat. We haven’t made the transition to organic food, but just moving away from over-processed food is making a difference. I can feel how I feel better and more energetic. Since I don’t have cereal in the morning but fruit, yogurt, and granola, I can make it to lunch without needing to graze. It’s the little things.
Through all these little changes, we are learning how we are going to live and what we are going to do when we finally do get our out of town property. We know that we need fruit bushes to support our growing fruit habit. We can experiment with various vegetables and see what we eat the most of, what we can successfully can and preserve, and how we can start to be the source of most of our food.
Our children will learn where food comes from. They will know that meat used to be a living animal. They will understand how fruits and veggies are grown. They will get a taste of the garden of Eden. We will work our land and grow our crops. We will be closer to living how God intended for people to live back when he created humanity. We were never meant to sit in chairs all day creating products that people don’t need and trying to convince people to buy crap they didn’t want until they were told they wanted it. We can reduce our global impact while dramatically increasing our societal impact. We can get back to the basics and live a life that can be lived for generations to come, with skills that will never be outdated. Just because we live in the modern era doesn’t mean that we should forget our roots or use convenience as an excuse to create all sorts of garbage (unrecycleable plastic anyone?).
This is the dream that God has laid on our hearts and we’re trying to be patient to realize that dream. We are learning that this is the time to start building the skills we need for that future. We need to go slow, though, and not set our standards too high. We need to trust that God will show us the right place at the right time. We can’t rely just on ourselves for this. If we want to get back to how we believe God intended for us to live, then we have to get back to living for God. One small step at a time.