For Lent I committed to a practice of daily writing. An offering of words. This is my Lenten journal: a practice toward resurrection.
“Freedom will sound like judgment” I was told. “As you begin to live in freedom, there will inevitably be others who begin to recognize their own bondage. They will either step toward their own freedom or they will throw stones.”
It’s been a surprise to us how many conversations we are having with others who also want a different kind of life. And many are stepping with courage toward it. We too are learning and gaining courage from others already traveling ahead.
And then, as we were told, there are those who throw stones.
What is it that is so appealing…and so threatening? I think I can identify a couple of things. I’ll start with this one…
Our decision to move from suburbia to a farm is largely in part of our acknowledgment regarding how we have often acquiesced in the formation of our children. If you have spent any amount of time around our family of late, you have heard about our “farm plans.”
Our children have many dreams about this said farm. We have nurtured these dreams in our children on purpose. It is an intentional formation of their imagination. For us, our journey toward an agrarian life represents a shift in formational-practices regarding our work, faith, time, and education. And although they have tasted and seen farm-type life examples in our extended family, we still daily return to our house in the suburbs. If formation begins in imagination, does its work in actual practices, and outputs a newly formed imagination…we know that lasting formation must include the actual practices.
The conversation we are fostering with our children is an intentional effort to form agrarian values that are glaringly absent in the suburbia life. I’m no anthropologist or a sociologist, but it doesn’t take much study to recognize the formational-practices of suburbia. Convenience, consumption, and entertainment are its core values. Debt, busyness, wastefulness, and loneliness await at the end of the road of convenience, consumption, and entertainment. And when we fully surrender to suburbia’s bondage we lose the ability to even imagine life without them. We become enslaved to planned obsolescence, owned by creditors, and left imagination-less by numbing entertainment. No longer are we potential consumers of products…we have become the very product of the producers.
To gain freedom from this kind of embedded and formed practice requires ongoing awareness. A daily confession of its reality, a determined remembering of our desire for freedom, and a daily practice of gratitude. And above all, it takes courage.
“To be free is precisely the same thing as to be pious, wise, just, and temperate, careful of one’s own, abstinate from what is another’s and thence, in fine, magnanimous and brave.” – John Milton