posted by Kyle VanEerden, June 12 2013
“Oh wow, you’re spending your first summer out of college working in a garden? And you’re not getting paid? You must be really naive and stupid!”
Okay, so nobody has actually said this to me, but I am quite sure that there are plenty of people out there who have thought this or something similar. While I don’t appreciate being called stupid, Anonymous Human, I understand where this sentiment is coming from.
We live in a world that is driven by…wait for it…money. Society has taught us that “the good life” comes from having a job that pays well so that you can have a large house and a fancy car. Technically you should probably have weekends off, but the reality is that you should probably put some time in just to get ahead on the coming week’s drudgery. But don’t worry! Some day in the distant future you will be able to live a life of leisure and luxury.
By this logic, what we are doing at Eighth Day Farms is indeed quite foolish, but I think I can speak for everyone when I say that we are overjoyed by this. Wendell Berry might put it best when he says that, “In a society gone insane with industrial greed and insecurity, a man exuberantly sane will appear to be ‘mad.’”
By no means, however, does this imply that we are living lives of scarcity. Jesus himself says that he has come that we may have life more abundantly. The problem is when we distort what abundance truly is. “The demonic most often appears as a close shadow of the good,” remarks Fred Bahnson, and nowhere does this seem more apparent than the so-called American dream. The ability to create has been corrupted by consumerism. Self-sufficiency has sabotaged community. “Progress” has poisoned our food supply.
This, my friends, is why we are attempting to do something different. I would like to humbly state that perhaps what we are really trying to do is take back the definition of abundance.
This past Saturday Gary invited everyone over to tour his tiny-house and cook pizzas over a fire.
On Sunday we packed an outrageous number of people into the Krino’s van and went to church together.
On Monday, after a tiring but fulfilling day spent in God’s beautiful creation working with equally beautiful people, a few of the girls came over for a game of euchre.
Yesterday I had the opportunity to hang out with the Hannekens and play with their awesome kids while being treated to some killer curry, followed by sampling some of Josh’s homebrews.
In just a few minutes I will be heading over to our weekly potluck where good food and conversation are never in short supply.
And I could go on. In spite of, or perhaps because of, our lack of material wealth, I dare say we are living abundantly.
This redefining of “the good life” is absolutely essential both for our planet and for our souls. Perhaps the world needs to see that a communally-supported garden can flourish in the heart of a failing outlet mall. Funny how fitting that is, eh? You could call us mad for believing in such a thing, but we would probably just respond with a “thank you” and an invitation to join us.