May 8, 2012

But Its Hard to Stop Eating Bananas

"You might consider how it can sometimes seem as if a great deal of what it means to be human has been stripped from our daily lives and how something as simple as the way we eat has the potential to restore so much of what we've lost." Ben Hewitt, The Town that Food Saved.

I've been thinking a lot about what it means to be human lately, and I can't stop thinking about this quote from the book I've just finished. Just before that one, I read Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver. Both teach a lot about farming, and this national food crisis that still too few people care about. What? We're in a national food crisis?

Consider how much irreplaceable fossil fuel is used to bring bananas to every town in America, even during seasons when there is plenty of fresh fruit in a given region, waiting to be picked.  Or how much it costs in today's gas prices, to bring all the produce from California to the Northeast. Consider why it costs so much less to buy that food from California than it does to buy food grown locally at a farmer's market. Who's growing that food in California, and how are they doing it so cheaply? We can thank the families of illegal immigrants who are willing to toil for slave wages, for growing most of the food that America eats. The real crisis, even worse than those things, is that a few giant companies have a monopoly on how crops are grown, and they are overproducing a few crops like corn and soy in a way that ravages the soil, yielding thousands of acres of current farmland to be wasteland in the near future. The solution seems to be for more average, every day people to start growing food.

Sounds good to me. Its interesting that the way we've grown accustomed to getting food now leads us away from the humanity of food. We like the package. We like the price. We like the taste. It seems like we've lost the appreciation that food keeps us alive. That we depend on food, and that food depends on the land, and people to grow it.  The people growing our corn and soy, and raising most of the meat, aren't putting any love in it.  There's a vulnerability there, that's hard to admit. Hunger feels vulnerable.  You and I did not create the giant corporations, or drive the Chiquita truck from El Salvador to Rode Island. But, now that these issues expose themselves to us, lets let them sink in for awhile, gently nudging ourselves back toward a more human existence.

May 7, 2012

The Circle

I'm following this path toward a more fully engaging human experience, and I believe doing so has attracted a circle of women into my life that is so supportive, it makes me feel nervous.  I feel so excited it scares me, like falling in love.  Here's a story about that:

I have a little hernia that I am to have surgery to fix this Friday, May 11.  I asked my parents to come help with the kids, and Jimmy is nearby and willing to give extra help with them as well.  So, since that was all in place, my anxiety should subside.  But I felt so fearful.  I allowed myself a good cry, and spent some time entertaining those nagging feelings.  The truth that came out is that I felt so alone.  Asking for help is hard, and I was already depending on everyone I thought I could depend on, for the kids.

So,  I was stunned when, moments after my good cry, I read a message from a newish friend, asking if she could come with me.  She wanted to insist.  She has small children, but a mutual friend had offered to watch them, to support the first in supporting me.  It may not seem like much.  In my hour of need these offerings literally shocked me. 

A place opened in me that had been closed for some time.  A wounded place.  I was having such a strong reaction.

I'm sitting here, trying to think of words to explain how it feels.  I take care of my boys.  I adore being with them.  I can handle being a single mom all day. And, I know I have friends and family that love me, even though I may go weeks without seeing a friend, and months without seeing my family.  There is an intimacy that I long for.  I can't seem to get there with people, in spite of my best efforts.  I take what I get, and I appreciate it.  And I do understand.  I myself desperately wanted to go with my friend to chemotherapy this past winter.  I would make a plan to go and things on my end fell through every time.  I wanted to show up for her.  I did other things, whatever I could think of to give her a little boost, but I'm just saying, I know as mothers of small children, it can be very difficult to show up for your friends.

But in my quiet, reflective moments, I can admit that sometimes, I could use more care.  And, wouldn't it be nice if, sometimes, I didnt have to seek it out for myself.   I feel like, after getting the kids squared away, I can't afford to have anyone caring for me.  I just don't have enough close people to go around.  That's not the truth, but that's my slanted belief.  My wound.

The sisterhood insisted on supporting me.  I didn't have to ask.  They just showed up for me. It feels vulnerable.  I'm going to sit here with my feelings of vulnerability, and not do anything to relieve this discomfort.  What if we could get used to feeling vulnerable again?  What would that do to our relationships?  Heaven sent me a message, through these women who are amazing vessels of love. 

You are not alone, baby