If you've been reading long, you may remember my former passion for gardening and all the mishaps we encountered along the way with The Family Garden at our old house. For the last couple of years, I'd been wanting to start a new garden, but the very thought of it made me tired. Bill had done all the hard work the first time, plus all the watering, and I'd found it difficult to keep up with the weeding. Honestly, I've always had a black thumb. So gardening was one of the things I let slip when I started my life as a too-busy, always tired single mom.
One thing I picked back up this semester, with great joy, was ladies' Bible study at my church, We've been doing a very different sort of study called 7: Staging Your Own Mutiny Against Excess, by Jen Hatmaker. The study challenges us to examine seven areas of excess in this entitled, self-indulgent culture: food, clothes, possessions, media, waste, spending, and stress.
If we had more time, I'd tell you about all the changes that little book has inspired in me. For now, I'll just say that it's very convicting. Even the chapters that I thought surely didn't apply to me--such as Spending--really made me take a hard look at how I live and how I think about myself, my family, and others.
The chapter on waste was another that I didn't think I needed so much. After all, I already recycle, I don't buy bottled water, I do buy organic produce, and I shop in the bulk section at my beloved Sprout's Farmer's Market. But I found that I did have a lot to learn, and plenty of room for improvement. I particularly loved the way Jen separated ecology from politics and reminded us that God has commanded us all to be good stewards. She posed some tough questions, like "Why don't we care for the earth anywhere near to the degree we do our bodies?... Why don't we fuss and examine and steward creation with the same tenacity?... Do we think ourselves so superior to the rest of creation that we are willing to deplete the earth to supply our luxuries?"
I made one commitment that week: I've gone back to reusable grocery bags. I'd started using plastic again because those bags are very convenient for cleaning the cats' litter boxes. As I thought about what I could change, I realized that I could just use one trash bag per week, storing it in the old litter tub where I stash the full grocery bags. It's a little smellier that way, but really not a big sacrifice.
The video that week got me thinking about gardening again, not just because we could potentially eat vegetables straight from the ground, but also because there's just something about gardening that fosters a love for the earth. That's what I want to teach my kids.
Despite my willing spirit, my weak flesh was pretty stressed over all the work this would entail. How would I have time to plan it all, let alone carry it out?