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Sunday, September 02, 2007

Where it is easy to be good

After a wonderful baptism yesterday, conversations with some of my friends turned to moving from Jersey. My husband and I are not the only ones considering an escape to the country and I'm not always sure in these conversations who is trying to convince who to move where. But I have one close friend my husband and I are always talking to who can't seem to grasp the concept. I mentioned to him about maybe fleeing to Kansas and would he join us and he made the comment that he didn't want to leave behind his good salary and his 12 weeks of vacation. (He's a public school teacher.) I said, (to paraphrase because I'm probably remembering myself as being more articulate than I was), "If you would sell your home here, you could buy a small home outright in Kansas and have no mortgage. And if you live where costs and taxes and lower and you grow or raise the majority of your own food, you don't need that salary. Imagine covering expenses by just being a substitute teacher." He had his concerns about the hard work of farming but I told him I'd rather work for myself and provide for my family than spend hours slaving away for someone else. Besides, ideally in a community we'd all help each other. I also made the point that living in Jersey can be a hindrance to a deep spiritual life because the effort (and stress) spent earning money to pay for the taxes, housing, and over priced necessities takes away from time we could be spending with our families or in prayer. In addition, we're surrounded by an overwhelming amount of worldly distractions; malls, shopping centers, designer cars, McMansions, etc. It's easier to do good and to be good in an area with less distractions. It's amazing what you learn to live without, what you learn you never needed to begin with, when it's not a quick drive from your house.
He did pause in thought for a moment or so, but I don't think I completely converted him this time. It's not about who's right or wrong, it's just trying to get people to think in new ways about how to live, one conversation at a time.
"A philosophy of work is essential if we would be whole men, holy men, healthy men, joyous men. A certain amount of goods is necessary for a man to lead a good life, and we have to make that kind of society where it is easier for men to be good. [snip]
A philosophy of work and a philosophy of poverty are necessary if we would share with all men what we have, if we would each try to be the least, if we would wash the feet of our brothers."
"On Pilgrimage - May 1948"
By Dorothy Day
The Catholic Worker, May 1948.

1 comments:

Troy said...

I am 18 and love the ideals of living rurally and being self-sufficient, but if you keep spreading this good news there won't be any room for my generation. LOL