The transition into independence and adulthood is a slow one. For me it began by taking college classes while living at home and getting a job in a restaurant. I paid for my classes, books, and gas with the money I earned from the restaurant, and my parents graciously fed me, housed me, and made sure I had everything I needed during this busy time in my life.
I’ve always been an independent student, but starting college really drove that home. Especially when I started taking classes, reading books, that my mother (my previous teacher of 18 years) either disliked or had never read. This was on me. It was my responsibility to remember to do my reading, bring homework to class, and study up on concepts well enough that I could be an active participant during class periods. It was exciting in many ways, and I liked it.
Similarly, when I got my job at the restaurant, it was solely my responsibility to do my duties, forge relationships with my superiors and co-workers, and learn how to represent the restaurant well. I got to come home and tell my family stories, but it was removed from them. It was a part of my life; my experience. I was forging a new family, in many ways, that didn’t include my parents or siblings.
Now, today, I am forging a new family also. I am growing into a new home where I notice that there are always dishes to be put away and laundry to be done, because it is my responsibility to make sure it happens! My husband and I are learning how we best like to divvy chores and arrange bill payments. One thing I’ve volunteered to Mostly Take Charge Of is food purchasing and preparation. I was never “the family chef” growing up, but I really do enjoy learning about food and how to make it well, so this is an exciting time for me. I’ve already had a few failures, but my husband is encouraging and gracious and we’re learning gracefully.
Which finally brings me ’round to my point.
I have control over what I do and what my family eats. That’s a really huge thing. Even just the “food” facet in our lives is such a significant one.
And we like to make significant choices, don’t we?
We like to feel like we’re somehow making a difference with the daily, mundane choices we make.
Isn’t that why we boycott things? We’re not actually doing anything in our day-to-day lives that fulfills our need to support our passions, so we boycott our “enemies” – the ones who disagree.
But I’ve realised that I don’t need to “boycott.” I don’t need to say, I’m not buying this BECAUSE…
Because I don’t have to justify my choices about my family’s food intake to anyone. And if I made decisions about the health of my husband based on political motivations…what kind of a wife would I be?
I’m not boycotting Starbucks because they support gay rights. I simply don’t buy coffee from Starbucks because I don’t enjoy coffee. I don’t boycott big business farmers because they fill their produce full of pesticides and their animals full of hormones and byproducts. I’m simply trying to buy from local and organic farmers because I want to put more real food and fewer chemicals in my family’s diet. I’m not going to boycott chain restaurant, stores, or manufacturers. But I am trying to purchase more things from local and small businesses, because I love my city and I want to invest in its economy. I endeavor to continue my research on wages, slavery, and the mess that is the global clothing industry, and make more conscious choices about where I buy my clothing. I do buy things from Target because it’s convenient for me, they have lots of things that I like, and it’s not really any of my concern that Corporate Target supports gay rights. If we truly live in a free and democratic country, I should be pleased that they (as a business) have the right to spend their time and money as they please.
I’m tired of Christians being known for boycotting things. I want to be known for taking care of my family and buying good things for them. Because, in the end, I want people to remember me for feeding them when they were hungry. Letting them sleep on my couch when they needed a place to stay. Giving my time, when I was able. Giving my hands, when they were needed.
I don’t want to be remembered as someone who judged you for your stance on Chick-Fil-A or Starbucks. I want to quietly live my life and look like Jesus. I want to practice true religion.