Today we continue exploring the themes in Living More with Less, and we’re focusing on what Doris Janzen Longacre calls the Fourth Life Standard: Cherish the Natural Order.The first question that came to mind when I first read this was “why doesn’t she just say practice environmentalism or creation care?”
In the book, Doris goes into more theological detail, but it boils down to this: We are called to cherish the earth, not just not pollute it.
This past year I had a garden for the first time. There were some successes (my tomatoes and cucumbers grew amazingly well and avoided any blight), and some failures (rabbits ate my beets and carrots as soon as the sprouts emerged from the ground). Through it all, I LOVED going to the backyard every day to see how things were progressing. I was reminded of how God is in control of everything; from the peas that somehow grew from little seeds to the tomato plants that seemingly overnight grew lots and lots of cherry-sized deliciousness, refusing to be confined by tomato cages and stakes.
I feel very blessed that as a child I was taught to respect and love nature and God’s creation. My Dad was a conventional potato and onion farmer so I knew we earned a living from the land, and that chemicals were to be used sparingly (this was before organics were very common). My grandparents had a large garden and a compost pile that I remember well. On Sundays sometimes my Dad would take us fishing, and on the way to the property that my Grandfather owned we would stop by the pile and dig some wriggly worms. Then we’d drive to a secluded lake and fish for bluegills and perch. My Dad would identify various bird calls while we waited for the fish to bite. I learned to cast, aiming for a spot just outside the weeds.
For summer vacations we would pile in my parent’s station wagon and drive to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula to stay in cabins owned by my grandfather and his relatives. During the day we’d either go fishing with Dad or pick blueberries with Mom. If it was warm enough we’d go body surfing in Lake Superior.
It was through all those experiences that I learned to love nature. Even though I live in the suburbs now, I enjoy my backyard garden and enjoy opportunities to go to parks and visit my parents who still live in the country. It wasn’t until recent years, however, that I realized that nature has been polluted, and that we need to make an effort to care for the earth. That if I want to continue to enjoy the outdoors, it is necessary to protect it.
So what does all this have to do with living simply? Well, it’s just another reason to do so, and a guiding principle to live by. We have one more Life Standard to discuss next week, and then we’ll get into the “how.” I hope you’ve enjoyed learning about these Life Standards so far; I do think they provide a good basis from which to make decisions.
This post shared with Simple Lives Thursday