I watched amazed as the burly man walked out of our neighborhood hardware store. He didn’t come out with lumber for building, paint for a project, or a fancy tool for his belt. No, he waltzed out with arms full of food for his feathered friends, two huge bags of bird seed.
As predicted, the temperatures were dropping rapidly in our town, everyone was preparing for the “winter storm.”
Snow shovels. Check.
Stocked cupboards. Check.
I don’t waste time when it comes to getting my needs met. Ensuring my own survival is at the top of my list every day.
We may not always do it well, but taking care of ourselves, our comfort and happiness, comes naturally to even the humblest of human beings. We wrongly assume caring for our neighbors requires us to muster up extra energy and time that we don’t have, and the groaning begins before we’ve even taken a step outside our own skin. We are so out of practice when it comes to love.
As a western society we swim in the sea of speed and convenience. We get what we want when we want it. We don’t readily fess up to the direct effects our selfish lifestyles have on not just our neighbors, but the entire planet.
We’ve all but forgotten we are a part of an intricate, sticky web of relationships.
One need only to tune their ears to a weeping world and dare to behold this God-soaked earth with squinted eyes to sense what Mary Oliver calls, “your place in the family of things.”
Furthermore, the endless, unforgiving lifespan of plastics, the animals going extinct from habitat loss in my own state, and the devastation caused by monoculture farming are enough to render me speechless.
Faced with my own complicity, how can I continue to live in denial of my disastrous obsession with dependency?
Coming to terms with my wonderfully inescapable role in the well-being of the endangered lynx and honeybee, the cheerful man trying to earn a living on selling magazines outside my local food co-op, and the farmer down the road, has brought wholeness to this severely fragmented heart.
When I arrived back home, I snagged the forgotten birdseed from the shed and sprinkled it on top of the log posts around our porch. Within five minutes, a whole flock of tiny creatures flew in from their forest homes. I watched from my living room as they chattered away with each another while cracking seeds in their tiny beaks, fluttering back and forth in thankfulness for the extra goodies in the January cold.
With any severed relationship, it’s admitting our involvement, our part in the wreckage, that ultimately makes hope and healing possible.
Then, and only then, will we be thrust into the elaborate ecosystem of eternal life unraveling before our very eyes, the eyes we once wanted to keep shut tight.
Distance breeds death and I am not about to stand by in dismal defeat watching others do the work. I’m entering into the sticky web with a smile and a bag of bird seed in my arms.
“What if we saw the Earth as a living being that has feelings, wants, and needs? If we consider our Earth a living entity rather than merely a commodity, a whole set of new actions arises.”