Friday, August 17, 2012

Ordinary Extremist

Today I went to the local cooperative grocery store, Rainbow Grocery, to pick up some fair trade, organic, and/or local items. Recently, we discovered that toiletry items, like shampoo and soap, come with a human price tag. Workers who make these items are not paid ethical wages and the farmers who provide the ingredients are not paid a livable wage.  In an attempt to not take advantage of others, we decided to buy fair trade and organic soap and shampoo. These, sadly, can only be found at our co-op.

While riding home, I was thinking about a documentary called No Impact Man. Find it on Netflix instant if you are interested. This man lived intentionally in a way that would have limited impact on the earth for one year. To do this he bought local food, lived without electricity, and only used a bike as his only means of transportation. The journey his family went on was convicting and unimaginable. It seems very extremist.

Some people when they look our life say we are extremist. Danny rides a bike to work most days. We don't own a car. We are constantly looking for USA made clothing and household items. We are willing to pay more for things made locally. I do not have insurance by choice and instead pay into a Christian cooperative where people all over the country share each others medical bills. Danny and I care deeply about human well-being, the care of our earth, and living in counter-cultural ways.

We are motivated by Jesus' teachings to love unconditionally and with his power, right the things that are wrong in our world. It is wrong that Fresno's air quality is so poor, because of pollution from cars in the surrounding metropolises. It is wrong that farmers who labor over coffee beans are paid pennies for what we pay dollars for on a daily basis. It is wrong that children are taken from their homes and forced to mine for precious gems. So, because we love Jesus and he has given us everything, we buy local, organic, and fair trade. Oh and we ride bikes.

As I was on the bus I was thinking that my purchases put me closer to living like No Impact Man. And I smiled. To me, this is becoming ordinary. This is the way we are living. One life style choice at a time  to better love our neighbors, both near and far, and our world. Some would say we are extremist, but to me it is just ordinary.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Chasing Bubbles

There are fleeting moments of pure happiness. I experienced one this week while watching kids chase bubbles. It was the end of a long day. Our feet dragged as if there were milestones embedded within our soles. My watch seemed to be moving backwards as I longed for the twenty minutes until my charges would disseminate into the arms of their adoring parents. Six of us total marched as a gauntlet crew, toward the grass with a foreboding from trying to kill time.

The first bubble was released into the atmosphere. Shrieks and laughter filled the college campus. Passer-byers, young and old, were compeled from their inner world to grin. Squeals of delight followed the children as they lept toward each small rainbows The sound would decrescendo until a twitch of my wrist and the invisible momentum of the wind would rush through my magic wand creating a stream of emerald, ruby, and diamond orbs. Jackets were cast to the ground no longer needed because of the rare San Francisco summer sunshine streaming down and the warmth that bubbles up when distracted by play. The children would rush back to me as the tide rushes back to the shore, the twinkle in their eyes betraying pure happiness.

From the treasured sunshine to the elegant simplicity of children playing to the fleeting beauty of bubbles, the moment was complete. I was content. Why can't all of life be like chasing bubbles?