THE OFFICIAL BLOG
On Friendship & Wonder
Recently I was making small talk with a lady whom I had just met (which seemed to be the proper thing to do given the circumstances), and inevitably ended up sharing a little anecdote about my goats. I say "inevitably" because goats have been a part of my life in one way or another for several years now, so that it is natural to include the subject when I am talking to someone who does not know anything about me. Of course, I am assuming (which is also a natural part of introductions) that the person wants to know something about me to begin with. Ah, but back to the conversation. When I finished my short little story about goat adventures, the lady looked at me with some irritation, waved her hand dismissively, and said, "Yeah. I have goats, too."
It stung a little. Aaand the conversation ended. I am pretty sure that any prospect of a future friendship with this person also ended at that moment. Not because I was offended, but because it was clear that she would not be particularly interested in such a relationship.
A few days later I was still tumbling the exchange around in my head. I wish I could say that it warranted so much thought because it was an unprecedented thing. On the contrary, it seems to happen more and more often of late. So much so that I am beginning to feel as if strangers are more strange than they ever were before -- that something happened out there in the world at large while I was busy on my hill. I missed the program. I did not get the memo. When did we become so completely uninterested in one another - to the point of rudeness? What is going on?
As I contemplate the awkward encounter, I keep coming around to the idea that years ago - maybe many years ago, but most definitely for millennia before the change - that moment of the discovery of some common ground, some common interest or experience - would have been a good thing. "Ah," we say to our fellow man, "We are cut from the same cloth! We can start here."
People seem to be constantly searching for two things - and, I believe they are willing to sacrifice friendship in the process: everlasting newness and knowledge for personal gain. Those two things are not unrelated in this land of consumers. Hear me out, here. We are all consumers, we all consume things. But there was a time - not too long ago - that it wasn't our consumption that defined us.
I believe it began with our consumption of things, although the consumption of things is not inherently wrong and does not necessarily lead to the destruction of civilization or anything like that. We are not locusts... or we are not supposed to be. (After all, we are also producers. Or, we once were -- sometimes it feels as if that role is declining.) But, once upon a time, there was an orchestrated battle for the mind of modern man and advertisers (who knew a lot more about how our minds work than the rest of us care to know) taught people - an entire society - how to be masterful consumers of things. And then they didn't stop at things, because there's always more to sell. We became consumers of experience, consumers of ideas, consumers of knowledge, consumers of one another.
A recap of the year so far
As I sit here at the laptop this afternoon, there are far too many tabs open in my browser at the moment. Email, Facebook, this blog, articles to read, t-shirt designs, photo albums, homeschool planners... It's all over the place. I have just as many lists of things to do and paperwork to go through and books to read scattered on the table next to the laptop.
It does not seem possible that we will ever complete the various tasks before us... There is not enough time. There is not enough energy. There is not enough determination or concentration or motivation. Impossible. Yeah. I'm a little overwhelmed today.
When things get overwhelming, I have to step back and look at what we HAVE accomplished rather than melting down over what still lies ahead. For my sanity.
So what have we done this year so far? Here's a list of major accomplishments for 2019 in no particular order.
1. We got doors.