Here's the glimpse into the raucous battle going on in my heart and mind...
Picture this: a celebrity death match between 2 clay-mation versions of me. One all buttoned up and combed, wielding a day planner and a Crate and Barrel catalog at the other me...the one with the long braid down her back, wearing a re-purposed burlap sac skirt, homemade shoes, and sporting a sunflower on the right flank of her head. Now if you know me, then you know I'm actually the ref in the middle, trying to keep the 2 from killing each other...and me. But seriously...this is the internal state I'm in at the moment. Why, you ask? Far be it for me to not tell you:)
As you all know, Brandon and I have found ourselves in quite the unique state of circumstance. We found ourselves deeply buried under a thick layer of need-to-get-out-of-here, at the same time, mind you, and then we were presented with the opportunity and wherewithal to actually do that. Uh oh...be careful what you wish for, right? The problem is this...our radicals are fighting with our practicals...and we actually feel the right thing, for us, is somewhere in between.
I don't really know how to describe it...so, I'll take a stab at a synopsis. I've stated that we feel called to move forward on the sustainable food movement, in some way. We've committed ourselves to living authentically (even if it kills us:), yet the parts of us that have been taught to stick to a budget, keep a steady 9 to 5er, get a 6 month rainy day fund & a secure retirement , all while keeping our house clean, are wagging their manicured fingers at us...furiously. I had a really bogged-down feeling all this past weekend, because I KNOW that we need to do this, but I feel pulled in 2 different directions.
As is our game...God gave me this picture...while I was in the shower. Like I said, He's really into making a captive audience of me...but, I don't mind, since I so love His company.
He reminded me of the story of Jesus walking on the water. The disciples all thought He was a ghost, but Peter said, "Lord, if it's you, tell me to come to you on the water." He reminded me that Peter was able to step out of the boat, into a raging sea, and walk towards his Savior...because, he wanted more faith. And boy howdy...did he get it! I mean...that is an Uber-faith! Can you imagine?! Yet, even with that huge measure of faith...as soon as he took his eyes off Jesus, he began to sink. Still, Jesus brought him back up. Then God drew my attention to the oft-overlooked aspect of the other disciples in the boat. Were they any less His disciples because they decided to stay in the boat? I don't think so...but, here's the difference...Peter asked. He actually wanted a reason to get closer to Him, to trust Him more fully...so. he. asked.
Ugly self-truth alert!!!
Philosophically, I'm a Peter. In practice?....I'm a boat dweller. On a usual basis, I am more than happy to watch someone else step out of the boat, and then rejoice in the miracle that God performs in their life...and proclaim "SURELY! He is the living GOD!!" I will always praise Him in the storm, and lift my hands...as long as it's someone else's. Ugh...gross. I hate admitting that. I'll let you in on a little secret. There have been 2 times in my life that I have stepped out of the boat. Only TWICE that I can think of asking God for something, with a heart that was willing to abandon all my own junk, and answer YES! to His call. Just TWICE. In my whole life. I surrendered, and I meant it...2 times. You want the punchline?
The first time was about 11 years ago. I had just been to a friend's wedding, and I knew that I was ready to step out of the place I was in. I asked God to do it...and I met Brandon. I may not have told this story on this blog, yet, but this was a RIDICULOUS scenario...not to mention dangerous by all accounts. I met a man online, who looks like my husband, and lived in L.A. Not only that, but my 21 year old self invited him to come and see me! Everyone I knew went NUTS! Now that I look back, if I confronted my 21 year old self, I would probably duct tape her hands and put her in a closet...dumb little girl...he could be ANYONE! But, I knew. I was too young to know it was God talking to me, at that point, but I knew. Everyone who loved me was sure that I had lost all my good sense, but I saw it through, and I let people be bewildered by my choice, and even be angry at me, even though it made me sad that they were. And now, I have a marriage that has outlasted all the ones that started conventionally, and my husband is famously the man that my friends wish they could clone;)
The second time was about 3 1/2 years ago. Brandon and I had been struggling to conceive a child, and we wanted one soooo badly. It took over our lives, and our joy. This is a very long story, and I will tell it, but in the interest of time, let me just say...I had a heart to heart with God one night...you know, weeping and begging and such...and I finally couldn't do it anymore. I needed out from underneath the crushing weight of disappointment and sadness, and so I dropped it. I gave pregnancy to God. I begged Him to take over, and fully surrendered having any plans to start a family. I simply dropped the bags...and let it go. THE NEXT DAY, He gave me my son. THE NEXT DAY. Strangest. day. of. my. life. It was the scariest thing I have ever endured in my life so far, but I'll be doggone if I don't have the most beautiful son you have ever laid eyes on, not to mention a true point of reference in favor of reckless trust. There is no way around it...there was nothing normal about it. People who don't even believe in God were like...oooookaaaay...there just might be someone up there.
So, there you have it...the 2 times I emptied completely out in favor of God's perfect will for me, I got the 2 greatest loves of my life...my boys. There have been a couple of other times that I have followed small things He was asking me to do, and even those produced miraculous results!
So, why all the fuss? I mean, I know He is faithful to us. He NEVER fails! Why do I need to learn this lesson time and time again?! I suppose it's this: I believe in trusting Him with abandon, but I also believe in being a good steward of what He gives you. I believe in stepping out in faith, but I also believe in being wise. So, I guess my struggle is how to do both at the same time. Can we sell most of our stuff, and hit the road, look for a little perspective and a new lease on life and still be wise? When we come back, will we be changed people, or is this just the catalyst for a whimsical road trip and a hard landing when we get back? Are we being good stewards of our resources? Goodness knows, I don't want to be the guy who harbored his talents, for fear of failure, only to be rebuked for not multiplying them.
So, here's what I will resolve myself to. There is common wisdom, and there is uncommon wisdom. There is nothing wise about stepping out of a boat, ONTO WATER, and trying to walk. But, Peter did it, because Jesus called to him. Brandon and I are united in the feeling that God is calling us out of the boat. I know that we need to be good stewards of our resources...and, I believe that promoting sustainable food is doing just that. There is nothing wise or stewardly about perverting our land for profit, or eating groceries that have been mutated and robbed of all God-intended nutrients, simply because it fits into our budget. We are CREATING new forms of death, in the name of not getting our hands dirty or doing manual labor...the new meaning of conventional. We have redefined value as how much we can get for a buck. One of my favorite authors, Barbara Kingsolver wrote "Value is not made of money, but a tender balance of expectation an longing." (Animal, Vegetable, Miracle.) It's easy to see why a society that has never had to wait for a seed to be planted, watch it grow, and then harvest it with joy and savor every last bite, (because it's all readily available, at the fingertip, at all times), is slow to recognize the value of a baby's life before it's taken a breath. I mean, the process is just a process, right? We're most interested in the final product...and then, only if we don't have to do much to get it, and then...only if we can do it on our time frame (which is usually IMMEDIATELY.) All the other stuff before it, doesn't count. In fact, we aren't even satisfied with not having to plant and harvest...we're no longer willing to chop our own lettuce or grate our own cheese...and for heaven's sake, that's if we even take the time to actually cook ANYTHING! Reverence for life has taken a back seat...no, make that a trunk seat...in just 2 generations. Almost directly concurrent with our disrespect for food, has been the complete disintegration of human value, relational value, and the value of life. It all goes hand in hand.
So, the thing is, I don't know what form this is all going to take, and I don't know where we'll end up. But, I do know that I believe it's worth fighting for. I do believe that I can't rest on my convenient laurels while my son's generation suffers our perversion of value into a see-how-much-we-can-get-away-with-not-doing-but-still-demand-abundance-at-all-costs mentality, and then call that progress. I do know that we are abandoning this post, at least for now, and we are going on a vision quest. My prayer is that I am able to keep my eyes on Jesus...'cause the last thing I want, is to sink...especially in this cesspool.
Save the Food, Save the World...that's juxtmyposition:)