Thursday, March 22, 2012

Day Twenty-Six ~ Back to the Basics

What are the basics of life for you?  We all need food, water, shelter from the elements, and some connection to relationships around us.  From there we would enjoy the option of choosing the kind of food we eat, the quality of water we drink, the type of home that will provide shelter, and we enjoy being able to select the people who will keep us company on the journey.  

Folks who are not able to make those basic choices are either incarcerated, living under extreme dictatorship, or deeply entrenched in poverty.  There may be other options but I think you catch my drift.

We consider choice and options to be rights that have become essential to our human journey.

I am pleased to say that I have a number of friends who live in a state of intentional poverty.  They are Trappist monks living in the household of the Abbey of Gethsemani in central Kentucky.  Take Father Damien Thompson for example.  Years ago he served as a missionary, then as a community organizer in Chicago and he supported himself as a taxi driver for a time.  Ultimately he 'came home' (like John Denver) to a place he had never been before.  He entered the Abbey of Gethsemani, became a part of the house, worked the fields, cooked the food, packaged the cheese, became the Abbot, and today is serving as Guest Master for the community. 

Along the way he took vows of celibacy, poverty, and stability (committing to never leave the Abbey).  He eats what is available, sleeps where he is assigned, wears what he has been given, awakes at 3:00 AM for worship, and becomes fully obedient to Christ through the discernment of Abbot Elias.

Most of us live a very different life!  Most people who live in poverty do not choose the life.  They may be culturally trapped, or economically snared, or even socially limited...but they did not make the choice.  In fact, if they had the option, they too would love to choose the food their children will eat tomorrow.  They too would like to be warm in the winter, have attractive and adequate clothing, and be able to interact with people they can only see on television.  But far too many know that tomorrow their children may not be able to eat, they may not have shelter from the cold, they may not have utilities like running water and electrical current.  Their time is taken up with the basics of life.

Perhaps we need to get back to the basics of life, appreciate what we have, and share the abundance.  Joshua would say, choose this day who you will serve.

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