Have you ever thought about that phrase, from Proverbs 30:7-9?  “…give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread. 9 Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you and say, ‘Who is the LORD?’ Or I may become poor and steal, and so dishonor the name of my God.”

With the whole political deal going on in our nation right now, I have found myself asking “Why?” too many times.  Why do humans so naturally want more, more, more?  Why are we willing to trample others to get what we want?  Why are so many of our decisions formed by our own selfish greed?  There are those citizens who feel entitled, and vote for the politicians that will provide for that person’s desires rather than for the nation as a whole.  There are citizens who seek jobs, and vote for the jobs-promising candidate.  There are the poor who seek riches, and the rich who seek protection from further taxes.  There are profit-driven companies seeking new, protective laws for their corporation, and environmentalists seeking to shut down anything they deem as destructive.  It seems every politician has money behind his reasonings, and every voter has selfish desires behind who gets his vote.

Imagine, though, if every voter sought a middle ground.  I am realizing, in our new lifestyle, the benefits of a middle ground.  When you are too poor, it is difficult to focus on Christ and family when the worries of tomorrow overwhelm.  When you are too comfortable, it is easy to become paranoid, bitter, and focus on wealth rather than Christ and family.  Greed and selfishness seem to come with either extreme.  It seems we are at our best when we are comfortably in the middle.  But, what do we really need to be comfortable?  And do we need more laws to find that comfort?

Each person may answer with different details, however, I suspect the average person desires comfortable housing, clothing, food, and water, with perhaps a decent savings set aside for emergencies.  With these few basic things, do we really need more–especially if it comes with a hefty price–and I don’t necessarily mean $$?  For those who fight for new laws, is it worth the cost of the loss of freedoms?  For those who fight for jobs, is it worth the cost of being essentially owned and controlled by government financing?  For those who are profit-driven, is it worth losing family and friends for the extra buck in the bank account?

I’ve realized that everything comes at a price.  I have made the choice to spend every day with my children, working at least as hard as any career woman as I run my home, care for my family, and tend my animals and farm.  That comes at a price–lack of free time, sacrificing my personal dreams and ambitions, exhaustion, and an exhilirating independence from the economy around me.  While we are dependent on God and animals for things like eggs, milk, dairy, and some meat, we are blessed with a new appreciation for our food and land.  Recently, my 7-year old came to me and said, “Mom, I just realized something…last winter, when Onyx (our milk goat) died, we wound up with no milk to drink.  We were patient, and first, God provided us with some friends with goats who gave us their extra milk.  Then, I guess since we were so patient, He let all our goats start milking so now we are swimming in milk!”  That is not a lesson that can be taught in a classroom.  Only personal experience and adults setting an example by giving God credit for our blessings would allow such a young child to view the world in such a way.

This weekend, I was sitting in a stadium that could seat over 46,000 people.  When the National Anthem began to play, I looked around, and solemnly realized for the first time that a simple tune could bring silence to 46,000 people.  Whether they were citizens, immigrants, or just visitors to our country, and whether they felt loyalty to our flag or not, there was clearly a mutual respect and admiration for what a man-made flag stood for.  Yet, had a chaplain walked out with a Bible in his hand to pray, there would not be nearly the silence or respect.  In fact, our area often has a particular man (I’d rather not call him a gentlemen) who attends such functions only to ensure NOTHING religious is done, lest he file a lawsuit.

As part of an event that occurred this weekend, I was also able to observe the interactions of many types of people from all different backgrounds and beliefs.  A few of these people were homosexual, and were attending with their partners.  Some of these were boldly flaunting their status, holding hands, kissing, or otherwise  going overboard to prove they were a couple.  One of these couples, however, was quite discreet, introducing his partner simply by name.  They were known for being aware that many people were uncomfortable with their lifestyle, and had chosen to not flaunt anything or try to force anyone to accept anything.  In fact, they acted much the same as my husband and I must act when he is in uniform–no unnecessary public displays of affection.  While I have to say here that I absolutely believe homosexuality to be a sin and do not condone or support it, I found myself appreciating and respecting these gentlemen for their tact and thoughtfulness.

The reason I mention these things is that I found it an interesting representation of our society, where, rather than agreeing to disagree, having mutual respect for each other based on what we DO have in common, or loving a sinner while hating a sin, our society in general often chooses to force individual beliefs on others by establishing new laws, seeking to criticize, insult, discredit, or otherwise penalize others who have different beliefs, and so forth.  Mind you, I’m not talking outright crime here (although even that is a pretty gray area these days!).  I’m talking just individual lifestyle beliefs.  Some breastfeeding mothers want to force acceptance by openly breastfeeding in public, putting forth effort to expose themselves as much as they can.  While I fully support and even encourage breastfeeding (even in public, if done discreetly), I don’t appreciate having to cover my 8-year-old’s eyes because I am trying to teach him to appreciate modesty in a lady.  Some haters of banned dog breeds will kill a dog of that breed to force their opinion, while lovers of that same breed may force their views by bringing an untrained dog in public.  We actually had a neighbor that purchased a pitbull as a companion to their untrained doberman.  As an animal lover and former vet tech, I can appreciate all breeds, but the first time those 2 dogs aggressively threatened to jump through a window because my children were playing in my front yard, respect for my neighbor and his opinions decreased substantially.  If someone wants to smoke, that’s their choice, but don’t force others to breathe that smoke.  If someone wants to drink, fine, just don’t endanger another’s life by choosing to drive while intoxicated.  If you want to send your children to public school, you have that right, but don’t try to force others to do so by passing laws against homeschooling.  If you don’t like guns, don’t buy one, but don’t try to force the hunter living next door to get rid of his weapons.  Dress how you want in the privacy of your own home or peer group, but (women particularly) should respect the men they are around by not dressing provocatively.  In fact, I don’t dress at all provocative by my definition, however, I used to purchase raw milk from a store run by the fundamentalist LDS.  While I certainly don’t have the same beliefs they do, that didn’t mean I couldn’t respect their appreciation for modesty.  Therefore, I would usually wear a long skirt and very modest shirt when I shopped there.  It was simply respecting them as humans with beliefs.  Similiarly, our retirement farm is in a neighborhood that has very little knowledge or appreciation for livestock or farming.  Most of our neighbors are there simply to enjoy the quiet life, with many of them being retired couples.  I have known so many who would eagerly move in and try to force acceptance of a smelly, noisy farm just to prove a point.  Rather than alienate our neighbors, though, we have tried diligently to carefully select our animals and farm projects, and to design our farm in such a way that it would disturb our neighbors as little as possible.  As long as respecting another doesn’t cause one to sin, then why not simply show respect?  Chances are, it will only contribute to improving the world around you.  As a bonus, I have experienced time and again that showing respect for others earns respect for you

I’m not sure how much sense this rambling makes, but as I looked around that stadium, in a moment of appreciation for a flag, I couldn’t help but think about how our country could so easily once again unite if greed and selfishness were set aside, even for a moment, as we considered how we can help each other, respect each other, and stop trying to force our own views on those who have different ideas.  Our founding fathers were from many different backgrounds and upbringings.  Some were protestant, some Catholic, and some diest.  There were scientists, physicians, and farmers.   Some believed in slavery while others did not.  Some were wealthy, others not so much.  Yet, at least in the beginning, they were able to set aside those differences for the good of the nation.  Oh, if we could overlook our own selfish desires this election season, and try to identify the overall impact and long-term price of our vote this year, just imagine what a difference could be made in this nation.  Wouldn’t it be wonderful if everyone in this nation would take just a moment–perhaps the same amount of time it takes to play the National Anthem–and just consider the possible impacts of their choice.  If you are Christian, pray during that time, for the welfare and forgiveness of our nation, for wisdom for our leaders, and that you could make a wise and selfless choice in voting.  If you are not a Believer in Christ, then take a moment and simply reflect on the needs of the nation as a whole, setting aside personal desires, and considering the needs of those around you.  If everyone did that–shoot, if 2/3 of the nation did that–this year, then imagine what an impact we could have in turning around the state of our nation, of our economy, and even of the local environment around us in peaceful and selfless manner!  Oh, just imagine a nation (or even your local town), where everyone considered neighbors’ opinions and beliefs.

Just a thought…..now, back to our (ir)-regularly scheduled blogging program…

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