Be a bricklayer.

Jeff’s a drummer. He’s in a band with two friends that plays around locally. He has a gig tonight. Last night his shoulder was flaring up a bunch from his accident. It looks like he did injure it some, seems like a bad strain. Sometimes it feels fine, but other times it’s very painful and his face will tense and he can barely lift Vera. I’d say that’s enough reason to take it easy for a while… Speaking from experience from when I sprained my foot, it’s SO important to let these things heal. I had to walk on my foot, so it was very difficult to really let it heal, and it STILL flares up from time to time- 3 years later. It sucks, and I really wish I had just called off work and kept it up for a week. Anyway, he was worried last night and was talking about playing the gig one handed and keeping the bad arm in a sling. I told him that was silly and that he should just call it if he felt that nervous about it. They can just play again later, but if he injures his shoulder further then he’ll regret it. He agreed with me, and called his friends and told them the situation and even called the booking guy and left a message about canceling. His friends, however, were upset and somehow changed his mind. Now I’m a big fan of learning from your mistakes, but this one is frustrating for me. This morning he was going through the whole rationalizing why it’ll be ok blah blah blah- but he actually canceled the gig last night, and I just know that he wouldn’t do that if he wasn’t really worried. Now he’s acting like it’s all fine and I just looked solemnly at him and shook my head. I hate to be like that! I understand that it’s a tough thing to let people down, but it’s not his fault that he’s hurt and can’t do it. If only he put priority on his well-being rather than his band obligations. I will give him this though, he really does what he says he’s gonna do. Grrr.

I guess it kind of reminds me of what my sister and I were talking about last night. We were talking about how it’s so important to really take care of this planet and each other and change the way that we do things. Sometimes, though, people urge us to be gentle and to understand that people’s motives are good and that we really are in a privileged position to think about this stuff. Agreed. But it doesn’t excuse a damn thing. We’re killing the planet and we have a responsibility to fix it and change. That’s it. It’s not personal, and it’s not about motives. It’s not about “balance” either. I hear that all the time. Like “Oh, I drive an SUV and I use AC and I buy disposable napkins, but I also recycle and buy “green” and I vote. I guess it’s all about balance.” But seriously, screw that. If someone knows enough about what’s wrong to see that those things are not helpful, AND feels the need to rationalize it, then they are doing the wrong thing. I’m sorry if it offends people, and it’s not a judgment on who-they-are or whether or not they are a good person. I’m a good person, but I have to reexamine my life constantly to see what else I need to do and change in order to live better. And yes, it is a lot of work and sometimes I falter and don’t want to do it, but it’s not really about me. It’s about doing the right thing.
Sometimes I do get frustrated with other people. I understand that the best way to go about spreading this change is to live by example and be gentle and just plant seeds in people. It’s hard, though, to watch people who know that their choices directly affect others in a BAD WAY and yet they somehow pass the responsibility to others because… well just because.
Yesterday was Independence Day. A day that celebrates a country that has risen to power through war and on the backs of others- we steal resources and labor and health and well-being, we live in a way that is only possible through theft and abuse. Our neighbor asked us over the fence yesterday if we felt good to be free. Jeff said that he’d known no other life, and so yes. But we talked about it afterward and realized that while we do enjoy certain liberties here, and while we certainly would live in a different way were we somewhere else, what exactly is “freedom”? What exactly are we celebrating here? I’m, frankly, not too proud of our freedom these days. This country was “free” back when people owned slaves… was that really freedom? Or was it just privilege? What a different day it would be if people went around to their neighbors and said “Good to be privileged, eh?” Although, it’d be more honest.
Here’s the thing. Freedom means choice here. We’ve decided that we can choose our faith, our jobs, our social status, what’s on our plates for dinner, our way of life. Have we ever examined, however, whether or not we have been given a false choice? Some of this stuff is just plain made-up, and it’s a myth that we can live the way we want to in all areas. It’s a myth that our comfort means our freedom.
I don’t want to offend people. I do agree that it’s almost impossible to truly live outside of the system- even if I were to get enough land to sustain my family entirely so as to reduce my impact to almost nothing, I’d still have to buy that land and work some job just to pay the mortgage and the taxes on that, and then I wouldn’t have time to grow all that food and raise my family the way I should. We are not perfect creatures, and I don’t pretend to be, but I believe that there’s more that we can do than what we are doing. It’s just the truth.
Sometimes I worry that Vera will be mad at us. I worry that she’ll hate how we live and wish she lived like everyone else. I suspect this will happen- regardless of how we live she’ll probably resent us at some point during her adolescence, that’s normal. I feel like if I’ve raised her to have a strong moral obligation- not just to other people but the world as a whole… if she grows up with a desire for peace and a reverence for life, with a love for others and herself, and gratitude for what she has, then I’ll have done my job well.

Anyway, the reason Jeff’s shoulder reminded me of this- It’ll be easy to see all the changes that we should have made when the consequences arrive. When the world collapses from exhaustion and the damage has been done, I’m guessing (because I think most everyone is a good person) everyone will say “Oh no! We could have changed! I could have changed!” If Jeff’s shoulder is really damaged then he’ll come back to me and say “You were right. I shouldn’t have played that show…” And will our motives magically save us then?

June 29th:
I don’t like flash… it’s not the way that things really look to me. So then I end up with blurry pictures, especially with a squirmy baby, but I like them anyway.

June 30th:
She fell asleep like this, holding tight to that little rattle butterfly thing attached to the thingy… cute.

July 1st:
He’s such a beautiful father.

July 2nd:
We got some straw from my dad’s work, along with the 10 chickens we ordered a while ago. We put the straw in our raised beds to help control the weeds and retain moisture. It made them look really nice. I’m due for another back yard photo, it’s been a month.

They have llamas there now, and we saw that they had just been sheared. When we asked the dude about it he said it was in a couple of garbage bags out in the barn and that we could have it all if we wanted. Our eyes lit up thinking about how we could get it spun and use it for our projects. THEN we thought it would be sooo cool if we knit things and donated it for the Jamboree (the annual fundraiser for the farm) auction. Think about it, hand knit stuff from the llama’s that live on the farm. I bet people would totally pay for that stuff. THEN my sister found out about this spinner’s club, so we are actually gonna go learn how to spin our own yarn. It’ll be so fun. Hopefully we can crank out a hat or a bag or something in time for the Jamboree.

July 3rd:
Jeff weather-proofed the rocker that we found on the side of the road, so now it’s out on the porch! I love it.

July 4th:
My snapdragon plant is blooming!

July 5th:
A sneak peek at a project I’m working on…

Quote of the day:
“When it comes to getting things done, we need fewer architects and more bricklayers.” Colleen C. Barrett


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