Updated: Feb 18
I'm sure you've seen the news. And I'm sure you're asking yourself the same question.
What is wrong with people?!?!
What is happening with today's society?!?!
Today, I'm feeling like society is nothing short of dys-functional...
We had two mass shooting incidents over the weekend. I know because I'm connected to the internet 24/7... I'm sure you are too given that you're reading this blog.
Unclench - this is not going to turn into a political post arguing for or against gun laws... I want to offer a different perspective.
We are more connected than ever. I will admit, even my phone is rarely further than 15 feet from my hand. I have a Facebook account. I am their ideal customer. I check it in the morning while I'm brushing my teeth. I check it at lunch. I check it before I go to bed. Just talking about checking it now, makes me want to check it.
But there's one time of day that you will not see me on my cell phone - you will not see or hear a screen talking at all actually... it's when I'm eating dinner. During that time, I'm connected to something completely different.
I'm going to ask you a couple of really honest, personal questions - and as we move further - they might start to bother you. So, I'm giving you a heads up, that you have the choice to walk away at any time.
Have you ever taken a life by accident?
If you've been driving any length of time - you probably have. Whether it's a rabbit, a stray dog or cat; maybe a turtle. My mother accidently hit a deer once. It happens so fast.
You didn't mean to. The event hits you in the moment, but what happens? Generally, we move about our day. There's nothing that could be done, right?
Have you ever seen someone or something take it's last breath?
Your pet? Maybe a grandparent? Depending on your age, the answer to this question might be yes or no. You might have been the one to decide that it's time to make that last trip with your 14 year old dog that can't get up anymore. That struggle is real - trust me, I know.
This life experience is a little more personal. And if you answered yes - I hope you'll agree - that having this experience changes you as a person... permanently. Making the choice to say goodbye, and seeing it through (even if it's not you with the syringe) is something that stays with you.
Maybe you could have given Fifi another week. She always looked happy when you walked by, even if she had a hard time getting up to walk over to you.
God, I miss Nana - I wish I'd have gotten just one more day with her.
The weight of this decision humbles you, and it haunts you. Did you do enough? What could you have done differently?
Have you ever, intentionally, taken a life yourself?
I'm not talking about swatting a housefly.
Have you ever been hunting? What about fishing (not catch and release)? Have you ever gone out back and picked out a chicken, wrung its neck, and plucked if for dinner?
I have... I've taken more lives than I can count.
I'm guessing that most of your grandparents have wrung their fair share of necks. Your parents have probably at least seen it happen. But you? And what about your kids? Do they even know that that's a thing?
And while all of that is okay... there is a large (and growing) portion of the population that doesn't even want to think about it - and that, folks, is a problem.
What makes us "human"?
The lion doesn't feel "sorry" for the gazelle. Our cognitive ability to recognize and have reverence for the life of the being that gave it's life to sustain ours is a primal part of what makes us human.
And we're more disconnected from that than ever - especially at the dinner table.
1 in 7 children thinks that chocolate milk comes from brown cows.
1 in 10 believes that hamburger is made of ham.
I've seen on more than one occasion some argument that we should all "get our food at the grocery store, where nothing has to die"
Ummm… That's not how it works!!!
To answer our universal question "What is happening in the world?"
I believe the answer is that we're beginning to see the multi-generational impacts of being truly disconnected from the things that really matter - from the earth - from where our where our food comes from - and from each other.
Look, I know it's not the only reason - I'm not that naïve - but here's a great example... studies are now showing that depression and anxiety rates are cut DRAMATICALLY by doing nothing more than literally getting our hands dirty. Going outside and putting our fingers in the dirt has an actual biological effect on us as people.
We are only just beginning to understand the real costs of "modern society" - and I believe that our disconnection from the basic cycle of life - the food chain - will be looked back upon as one of the major contributing factors to a number of our ills.
Look - we don't all have to go out back and start wringing our own chickens necks again like it's 1875. But, something happens to us when we remove that middleman (the grocery store), and even take it as far as to go meet the cow that we'll be smoking for Memorial Day brisket.
I don't know what it is - but I know it happens, because I've lived it... and I've seen it with dozens of you.
People that make the pilgrimage out to the farm to see how it works... to look the cows, pigs, and chickens in the eyes... to physically have the "ham" or the "ribeye" pointed at... to acknowledge that that animal will someday give it's life to sustain their own... change. Right in front of me - all the time.
Sometimes it's awkward. Some folks get really upset or sad. And that's all okay. We're all different, and we're all going to make that re-connection with our food differently. You may not even need to visit the farm in person - it might be enough just to read this blog and see these words.
But at the end of the day - I'm begging you...
Even if you never hear from or speak to me again... even if you decide that you want to become a vegan because of it... PLEASE skip the drive through - you know what, go to the drive through if that's what your plans were - but don't eat it in the car.
Go home and sit down at the table tonight. Put down your phones. Have a conversation with each other. Eat. Together.
… And take whatever steps you can for your family to become more connected to what really matters.