Even though I got messages from my parents that created some of my demons, they don’t need to be the focus of my living. My parents also taught me some angel lessons that look over my living. My father is an example. He was a hunter and fisher. I grew up during the Great Depression and the World War II years. Food was scarce, so hunting was more than sport. It was preservation rooted in conservation. He taught me two things:
- Do not kill what you do not intend to eat.
- Do not kill more than you intend to eat.
The only exception to these rules was something that might threaten my life such as a rattlesnake. So while I could enjoy the process of hunting as a food source, I was to look after the ecology that made such possible. But it was more than just looking after. It was a caring about that which sustained me. The lesson was: No wanton destruction. The residual perspectives that rose from this lesson are:
- A sense of the brevity of existence of all creatures.
- A sense of the interconnectedness of all that exists.
- A sense of caring about that which sustains me.
- A sense of myself as a steward of the food chain.
This is in stark contrast to the out of control capitalistic consumerism so characteristic of American culture that rapes the environment for the sake of profit and pleasure. Conservationist John Muir put his finger on the issue for me:
Nothing dollarable is safe, howsoever guarded.
Capitalism announces that everything in the human environment of living is dollarable. My father’s message was simple and clear. Anything less than my personal stewardship was a betrayal of the environment’s continuing gift of life. Thanks Dad!
Christmas is a time of gifting. Why not take advantage this focus to reflect on some non-dollorable gifts from others that have increased the quality of your relational living? And give appropriate thanks. It will make Christmas far more precious than just what might be under the tree.
Robert T. Latham