Friday, May 08, 2009

miles to go before I sleep

"Speech is conveniently located midway between thought and action, where it often substitutes for both."
  ~John Andrew Holmes

This is especially poignant to me at the close of the semester.  While I'm at school, I learn new things, exciting things, and I think, "Wow, I want to take some time, really ponder this, and implement it into my life! . . . but right now I'm too busy, so I'll do it later-- during the summer, maybe."  And now here is summer, demanding that I review my list of things to ponder, demanding that I act on what I've said.

The question is if I will.

For the past semester, I've been doing a "lifestyle project" assigned by my environmental science professor. It seemed straightforward and simple at first. But it has changed my thinking and my habits in many, many ways.

I have trouble remembering what meat tastes like.
My first thought with everything now is, "Can I recycle this?"
I have come to enjoy the dimness of my apartment at night, with only one light on.
My feet are calloused and nearly always dirty from walking barefoot or in flip-flops and my shoulders are browning for the summer.
I cannot bear a day without being outside, whether in the sunshine or the rain or the wind.

I want to be a radical.  Even though I've changed my life a lot in some ways, I am still dissatisfied with these changes.  There are things I can and should still change.  I want to live in a house with solar panels and geothermal temperature control, where my children run in and out so much that the outdoors is basically an extension of the house, where the first steps out the back door lead into a garden where we grow our food, where the clucking of free-range chickens wafts indoors when the windows are open, where the pine trees whisper against our eaves, where there's open water nearby, where I can go outside and breathe and love the air.  I've never done something like that; I've never been able to and the desire has never been strong enough to make me want to overcome the obstacles.  And maybe I never will; maybe that radical lifestyle is not the way God wants me to live.  Whatever I do, wherever I live, whoever I live next to, though, I want to be a good neighbor.  I want to love those around me with everything I have, and I believe one of the ways I can love them is by living the simplest, cleanest life possible.

I'm not an environmentalist nutcase, but I do believe in caring for the gifts God gave us. I think, after all God has done for me, taking care of His creation is one of the least things I could do in gratefulness . . .

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