Tuesday, February 3, 2009

My "One Thing"

I found a blog post this week that was entitled "What is the One Thing in Your Life?". The author was making reference to the movie "City Slickers" where Jack Palance tells Billy Crystal that the secret to life is One Thing, and he (Billy Crystal's character) has to figure it out for himself. Like the author of the post, I remember being struck by the profoundness of that statement, and to this day, City Slickers remains one of my all time favorite movies.

After reading Mary Jaksch's post, I again returned to that question. What is the one thing in my life that makes me me? Like her, there are several areas about which I am passionate. I am passionate about my amazingly wonderful husband. I am passionate about how much I love my kids yet want them to grow up and leave home. I am passionate about teaching others what I know about health and wellness. I am passionate about wanting to feel in control of my health and wellness. Maybe passion is my one thing? Or maybe not.

I am finding that my passions change as I grow older. When I was 18 years old, I was passionate about getting off the farm and having a real life. As I got a bit older and snagged one of my passions (the one that hasn't changed to whom I am very happily married), I wanted my kids to have neighbors they could easily visit. I wanted cable TV. I wanted newer vehicles. I wanted a big, nice house. I wanted to be free from mice and rattlesnakes, passionately.I wanted a job that paid decent and provided a long vacation. So I became a teacher.

Time rolled on, and I quickly discovered that I was NOT passionate about teaching...at least not teaching children. I became passionate about computers, which is really ironic since only a few years earlier I professed my total disdain for the horrid beasts. Now I find that my passion for computers, or at least my desire to work with them and with people as they relate to computers, is gone. Not just sort of gone, but majorly gone. Outa here. See ya. Adios! I did learn from the experience that I need to be needed. I enjoy being appreciated. I get a kick out of helping people who truly desire my help and who strive to improve themselves as a result of my assistance. That's pretty amazing stuff. Probably better than any drug I could get off of one of the town dealers. I have also discovered that I am passionate about getting back to the farm...sort of. Maybe back to the land is more accurate. I want to be self-sustaining as much as possible. I want smaller, not bigger. I think I could really enjoy a little cabin in the woods or an RV on the ocean's edge at this stage of my life.

If my passions can change so easily, then PASSION must not be my One Thing. It can't be. The One Thing is a constant, right?

I'm sure there are plenty of well meaning Christians out there who would suggest that if Jesus were my one thing, I would have total peace and love life no matter what comes my way. Well....I hate to disappoint, but Jesus is NOT my one thing. I mean I like him and all that, but he simply is not what rocks my world. He is not the butter on my hot biscuit. He is definitely the jelly, but not the butter. Jelly is good. Jelly is good alot. Yet I can eat biscuits without jelly, but I just can't quite get them down without butter. Yep, Jesus is my jelly, but not my butter.

Then it hit me. There is one thing that keeps me going. There is one thing that I scratch and claw to recover when it seems lost. There is one thing that if you take it from me will instantly turn me against you for life. It is the one thing that I most resent losing.

For me, the One Thing is FREEDOM.

I need freedom. I want to be free to choose my life's destiny. I need to be free to choose what is best for my family and myself. I passionately desire freedom from government regulation. I desperately want freedom from the energy grid. I ache for freedom from status quo. I must feel the wind in my hair while being free from time. I long to experience the smell of an Hawaiian hibiscus flower without ever once thinking about how much the motel room is costing me. I want to walk hand in hand with my husband through the Alaskan wilderness as we gaze at some of the most pristene and awesome beauty on our planet without a moment's thought about restrictions. I want to be free from stuff. I want to be free from banks and creditors and regulators. I want to freely choose how to educate my kids. I want to choose who I help and when. I want to live and work on a piece of land without fear of the government taking it away because I didn't contribute to their ludicrously stupid corporate welfare programs. I want essentially what George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, and Patrick Henry wanted.

The irony of freedom is it comes at high costs. The pendulum swings to the extreme because humans seem unable or unwilling to strike a balance. We desired absolute freedom from disease and death, and so we have become slaves to the pharmaceutical companies. We desired freedom from crime, and now we risk losing our right to own a gun with which to defend and protect ourselves. We chose freedom from terrorism, and now we are slaves of the Patriot Act and Homeland Security. We wanted freedom from labor intensive small farms, and now we are slaves to a paycheck. We wanted freedom from processing and storing our own food, and now we are slaves to processed foods and the Food Industry giants. We wanted freedom from darkness, and now we suffer from sleep deprivation and chronic fatigue syndrome while our kids develop autism from mercury poisoning at an alarming rate. It's quite an ironic twist.

Nevertheless, my One Thing remains Freedom. People died for it. People have died to keep it. Unfortunately people will probably have to die to get it back.

For now, I will point my life in a direction that will provide as much traditional freedom as I can achieve. I am coming home....to the land...to my heritage...to Mother Nature...to self-sufficiency...to health and wellness.

How about you? What is your One Thing?


Anonymous said...

it is sad that Christ has taken a back seat to "Freedom" he is the reason that we have freedom. Look at what is in front of you, do you know what "Zen" is and where it comes from? buddism: Do not take me wrong I do not judge you, I pray for you.

Angie said...

Thanks very much for the prayers. I need all of those I can get.

Just curious....how much have you studied Buddhism? I never had an opportunity to take a world religions class in college and I've not spent much time hanging out with Buddhist monks, so I don't really know that much about it. However, I am picking up on bits and pieces, some of which I think are very powerful and very much on track for what Christ was trying to get across to his disciples.

I doubt I could agree with all of the concepts of Buddhism, but I'm thinking Christianity (which has played a key role in warfare and murder over the centuries) might do well to study the practice of zen and spiritual enlightenment a bit more. They seem to be more in line with the Greatest Commandment and other lessons Jesus taught than many of Christianity's practices through the ages.

Maybe if Christians would be a little more "in the world" and a little less "not of the world" we would better understand the lessons Christ sought to share with God's people. We tend to fear that which we do not understand, yet Biblically, we are instructed not to fear more than we are instructed about anything else.

Women in Salem, Massachusetts who used herbs to heal others were feared and misunderstood. Look what happened to them. Were they perfect? No. They were sinners just like the men who murdered them. No better, no worse. All loved by our Father, and all adding value to the existance of those around them. Yet because the Christians didn't understand them, they killed them.

Christ knows what they endured. He was feared and misunderstood. As a result, religious people....God's chosen people....killed him.

Thanks for giving me something more to think about.