Wednesday, November 14, 2007

A Fall Story

Writing something every other day that you know other people will read changes the way you think. Since I can write about anything I want to, I find myself trying to turn everything interesting I ever see or hear into something to blog about. For instance, I was biking to school the other morning and I was struck by the way the sun was lighting up all the colorful leaves. I think the leaves staggered their changing times this fall so that the color has lasted an unusually long time. I have also noticed that the colors you see change drastically depending on what sort of lighting there is at that time of day, or with those particular weather conditions. The result has been a very long time full of a very wide variety of colors, and in conclusion I am overwhelmed with it all. In a good way. So as I biked to school through the bright yellows, reds and pinks(?) I looked at the thick frost on the grass and distinct shafts of light in the frozen air cut by bare branches and thought how I definitely need to write about the aesthetics of fall in next blog entry. Alas, such things have little to nothing to do with vegetarianism, so they will never make it to you the reader. *sigh*

But not everything I hear and see is totally irrelevant, or quite as whimsical. In church this last Sunday we had the humorous author Donald Miller speak. He was highly amusing, and I recommend reading and listening to him. (Yes, I actually read a portion of one of his books, as rare as that may be) What he spoke about, to be brief, was the concept of your life being your story. While I will not go into the details, as glorious as they are, he ended up challenging us all to live our lives in a way that would be worth telling about later. To conduct ourselves the way a hero in a movie would conduct themselves and put our very lives on the line for something that mattered. He quoted a book by some famous story guru who asserts that our society is losing the concept of a good story as a result of blurring lines of morality in our society. This was the perfect setup for me to frame this vegetarian experiment in a lofty context and praise Devin and myself.

This seems like a silly game to give up meat for somewhat intangible reasons, and only temporarily at that. The benefits of it are too abstract for most people to think anything more of it than that it is weird. But then again, we do have a reason for doing it. We have chosen our objectives, articulated our aspirations and gone about achieving them. We named our villains (waste, unsustainability, greed, complacency…) and we have our plan of action to confront them. Devin and I are writing a short story with our lives this fall. Quite literally with this blog, but also in the bigger picture of our lives. When we look back on the fall of 2007 in years to come, we will have a story to tell. Not only a story of what we did during these four weeks, but a back-story to the values and habits we will carry with us because of this experience. We could have kept living the exact same lives we were before, simply being aware of what was happening in the world around us. But when we make the move from comfortable awareness to uncomfortable action, we do something worthwhile that will pay off in ways we can’t even plan on.

How is that for self-praise and exaggerated glorification? Not bad. But there is some truth to it all as well. Indeed, the story we are writing here is not an epic. It’s quite tame actually. But at least we are writing, and we can be proud of that. So when you congratulate us on doing something cool, but chuckle and say you could never do it, ask yourself why that is. Is it because you don’t know why you should, or because you do know why but you are too comfortable to change? And I am not just talking about meat now. How often do we know what is required of us, but put it aside to be dealt with later, or by somebody else? Probably every day in some small way or another. But we are capable of accomplishing great things and bringing about real change when we decide the comfortable life of the observer is not for us. As Donald Miller put it on Sunday, if you were to die today, what dreams would die with you? What would the world lose because you are gone? I am trying to build a respectable answer to that question, and maybe I this will all be a small part of it someday.

(You can hear exactly what Donald Miller said if you go to iTunes and search for the Mars Hill Bible Church Podcast)


Devin E said...

I really like the notion of our lives as stories. I may have said a lot of the same things you said in my latest post. But I am glad to add this chapter to my story.

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