Updated: Aug 15
“We must always change, renew, rejuvenate ourselves; otherwise, we harden.”
-Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
For the remainder of August, I want to talk about renewal. This can mean something different to each of you. Maybe your family has started to produce more waste as you’ve spent more time at home and you would like to renew your commitment to reducing the amount of trash you produce. Maybe you haven’t been spending as much time outside lately and you’d like to renew your commitment to getting outside every day. Maybe with everything else going on in the world, you’d like to renew your commitment to helping others around the globe who are struggling with hunger, equality, and poverty.
I’ve found that turning to nature can help relieve the anxiety and stress that comes with the changes I am experiencing. This can come in many forms: hiking down a (not-too-crowded) path, planting a garden, sitting under a tree or in a field of wildflowers, looking for shapes in the clouds, watching birds, swimming in a lake, listening to the sound of waves crashing upon the shore, walking barefoot in the sand, the list could go on and on. Time outside can have a huge impact on my and my kids’ moods and emotions. But we haven’t been spending the amount of time in nature that we should. So I’m committing to get back into the habit of getting myself and my kids outside of our neighborhood and into nature at least twice a week. There are many low-traffic trails around, I’m sure we can find places to enjoy nature, socially-distanced from others. There are plenty of fields of wildflowers we can venture into. There is an abundant amount of birds we can watch and identify.
Since mid-March, my family’s waste has drastically increased. We’re all home, all day long. We have chosen to order carry-out which brings waste into our house through containers, plastic bags, and ketchup packets. We have stopped taking our reusable grocery bags into stores to prevent spreading germs. And, to be honest with you, I’ve become lazy and let the kids pick out pre-packaged snacks. And three kids, picking out different kinds of snacks they each like, means a lot of extra trash. So I’m committing to reducing our waste. I’d like to put more thought into my purchases, considering the waste it would create, before I add it to my cart. I’d like to stop ordering carry-out. This one can be fixed by just planning our meals ahead of time. And I’d like to get back to using canvas bags (that I can wash before reusing) at the store.
Give it some thought. These are just two minor examples of areas of visible renewal in my life right now. What habits or lifestyle patterns would you like to change that can make a difference in the world? Times are different now. Our worries and stresses are different (or we’ve added to our stresses and worries). The world is changing. I don’t know about you, but I’d like to make some changes in my life too. Maybe spending 5 minutes listening to the birds might reduce your stress a bit? Maybe purging some of the excess waste from your home would make life feel a little less suffocating? Maybe reaching out with a word of love to someone who‘s feeling anything but love right now could make a huge impact on someone’s day. I know there are a lot of people out there struggling at this time. What kind of renewal would you like to see in your life that could make a positive impact on you as well as others?