While it may seem that I went into hibernation for the winter, the truth is quite the opposite. If you have been reading this blog for long, you likely know that our world was very much turned upside down this fall as we were deported from Bolivia. You can read more about that here and here. So, we have found ourselves once again in a long strange transition back to North American culture.
I now have a full time job working in the Technology department of our local school district. I’m also continuing to build my small business, Edible Lawns. So, balancing two jobs, family and life with our community has made time for writing or reading pretty tricky. I long for the days spent on our porch in Bolivia with nothing to do, but read and write. Yet here I am in a culture and circumstances that seem set against this slower way of life.
The task now is to figure out how to embody this other way of life in the midst of our time and money obsessed culture. There’s a small group of people in our community who are asking these same questions. Questions like, “How do we organize our lives together so that we only have to work part-time and commit more time and energy to community projects and small businesses?” or “How do we make it so that health insurance does not dictate where we work?”. The question I struggle with most is “How do I live out this other reality right now in the midst of the craziness that has become my life?”
The temptation of our cultural mentality is to say that the end justifies the means. Working like mad, being stressed out and neglecting my family is just a step along the way to my goal of the leisurely life that will come when my small business takes off. Did you laugh at the end of that sentence? You should have. This is the madness of the world we live in. This is almost never the way it works. The grass is never greener, especially in the midst of a drought in Texas!
So, I hope to have time again to devote to writing here again, but can make no promises about when, how often or how frequent. Neglecting this blog and other online presences feels really healthy, letting go of my need to put myself out there. Yet here I am. And there I am on twitter and facebook. We are always such a mixed bag.
The favorite evangelical trope “Let go and let God” seems like a way to maintain our control while pretending that we have let go. As long as our God is willing to micro-manage and control our destiny, we can pass of the illusion of control without feeling subject to the real vagaries of our existence. Over these months, I have at times struggled with feelings of depression and wrestled with any purpose for our experience. I have sat with the idea that all of my efforts will ultimately be fruitless and in vain. I have not come up with my mission in life or God’s purpose for everything that has happened. Nothing really makes sense out of life except that “compost happens”, which is to say both that bad things happen for no apparent reason and that decay and decomposition are as much a part of the process as new life, blooming flowers and beautiful ripe fruit.
I’ll end this rambling diatribe with a promise to share some of what I am struggling through and learning in this space as much for myself as for anyone that might read it. I hope to return to the more theological and seemingly esoteric exegesis of the role of food in the Bible soon, but in some ways I feel like what I am struggling with now is the real heart of the matter. More than asking just what we should eat, which is intended to be a question of ethics, I and my community are asking how we can begin to live out some of these ideas more fully in our particular lives and places. There is some excitement and creativity in the midst of struggling through these very mundane issues of how to pay the bills, feed yourself and still find community and sustainability.
I’ll let you know how it goes.