October 13, 2010 § Leave a Comment
I listened to a podcast of “Desire” conferences by John Eldredge today. I’ve been mulling over the idea of legacy, passion, and where real life meets with spiritual calling. I do want to walk in faith, not fear. I do want to pursue the desires God has put in my heart. The question is, what are they?
People pin desires on each other in an effort to bring their own unrealized longings to pass. I think there’s some of that in my goal-setting. There’s also a wishfulness to go “back to bountiful,” I think, in my desire to farm or promote back-to-the-land. Am I truly passionate about soil? I want my children–who don’t yet exist–to experience the abundance of life, closeness to nature, and access to color and beauty that I had growing up. That’s the origin of my interest in sustainability. From there, it stems out to wanting other “children” and the world in general to experience this as well and it angers me to see so many of these people making choices that destroy the possibility of abundant life.
But how to proceed? How to make the biggest impact to help people wake up out of the gray into the sunrise? Should I…have a family? Go to grad school and work for a nonprofit? Get a job in Maine as a farm tour guide for schoolchildren? Stay where I am as an English teacher at a private Christian school?
Hoping the path will present itself.
October 10, 2010 § Leave a Comment
You always hear people say it: “I was into (fill in the blank) before blankity-blank was cool.” Indy music, Twitter, local food–it all started somewhere and some people latched on sooner than others and now feel they have seniority in the matter. That’s how I feel about farming. I loved farming before Michael Pollan loved farming (maybe). At least before he wrote his books. I was in the garden before CSAs were invented. But instead of feeling qualified, then, to speak on the subject, I now sense that I have been relegated to garden variety status (pardon the pun). No longer heirloom or even organic, I stand as one among many, a single piece of produce among acres of mass-produced opinions.
I live life as a MINI Cooper-driving English teacher who dabbles at long-distance running. I am a committed follower of Jesus, want to represent Him in His authentic beauty to a world that is quickly being overtaken by concrete, and daily struggle to put people before tasks. Sometimes I go to bed at night with my heart pounding and wake up in the same state because I’m afraid I haven’t gotten it all done and won’t get it all done the next day. I like pretty clothes, modern art, and whitewashed houses. If you saw me at Starbucks–getting my usual, a bold coffee with an inch of steamed soy–you would never think that I would prefer to be getting dirt under my fingernails, snipping jalapenos from plants and discussing the Farm Bill over the rows.
I know so little about it all, really, when compared to those people out there who have been fighting for sustainable agriculture for 20+ years and have advanced degrees in all kinds of scientific disciplines. I’d like to go to grad school to become one of them, but even that feels almost undoable, since I chose the liberal arts route in college. Professional Writing–I thought I could do anything with it, have the skills to become an expert on anything. Instead, I became a teacher, and I pour my energy each day into trying to excite young minds about diagramming indirect objects and analyzing Julius Caesar.
In a way, it’s because it’s a trend that I haven’t pursued farming further. But last night I had a small epiphany as I talked to the guy I’m currently dating. He has a book inside of him, but he hasn’t written it yet because he wants it to be unique and fully formed as something that is not already available on the shelves. I told him that I had been thinking about that lately, too, and realizing that if I commit to a creative expression, it will be unique because it comes from me. And I’m an original. Also, I preached, I had recently realized that my desire for perfection kept me from doing anything at all, because what if it was flawed?
So I’ve decided to write. Even if I don’t know what I’m talking about. Even if it never comes to full fruition. Even if someone else has already written it and gotten famous. I need to write about farming. I need to express the truth inside of me about local food, sustainable agriculture, and public health. If I don’t, it will just spoil inside of me.