Having spent my formative years in a convent there are certain things which I find I cannot ignore. Lent tends to be one of them. I try to find something that will make me a better person, or the world a better place. . . . not easy in this day and age**, but I am not of the belief that giving up chocolate really encompasses all that Lent is!! (Although giving up chocolate and donating all the saved money to charity is a good option!!)
**That reads like I can't be made a better person and as I am fundamentally flawed in many aspects I wouldn't want anyone to think that I thought myself perfect, but I hope you understand the broader meaning!!!**
Anyway, whilst visiting a friend’s website I came across a campaign taking place across the Catholic Church – Here . I am not Catholic, although I do have a fundamental belief in God, but this campaign seems so much more than religion, it is about living in harmony with the world around us. It is about being aware of the value of life and not the materials within it. It is about respecting our world and being aware that we can destroy it with our thoughtlessness, as easily as leaving a light bulb on.
I am a passionate believer that we over-consume! I look around my house and own so much that I don’t use, and of the stuff I use, a fair proportion of that I do not need! Trainers, shoes, coats, clothes, PC equipment, TV and associated paraphernalia, a cupboard full of DVD’s, mobile phone, kitchen equipment, garden tools, craft stuff, (Plus the list of “I wants” that I keep in the back of my diary for when I have a little money to spare. . . . hair straighteners, new hair dryer, guillotine for card-making, log maker, carpet shampooer (well so would you if you owned a Springer in the rain!) yarn, card, DVD’s, magazines, tracksuit for my race for life training (!).) OK I do use some of it (I wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for my PC!!!!) but as to needing it, well yes some of it….. but not all of it……. Not by a long shot! My amazing next door neighbour is 85 years old and has lived in the house all her life, she has only 6 electric sockets in the whole house, and no central heating. Now I'm not suggesting we should all live like that, but I use more electricity than that to fire up my PC!!!! It's shameful really!
Then there is food. . . . animals are slaughtered to provide us with food, but so much is left to waste as modern society doesn’t know how to use the odds and ends of the animal. I can remember watching that Hugh Fernley-Whittingstall programme a while ago, where he had groups of people stay at River Cottage HQ and he was trying to teach them to use the chicken carcass to make stock.. One man went off on a total tirade to camera about “Who does he think we are – paupers? we don’t need to cook like this any more, I am better than this” – or words to that effect! – It struck me that he had kind of missed the point! Money was one issue indeed, Hugh was trying to show that with a little ingenuity a chicken can go further than a Sunday Roast, but the whole other issue was how much was being thrown in the bin – indeed a whole extra meal’s worth, and that is just shamefully wasteful!
When I gave up work, I had to re-evaluate my budget to a rather large extent! – and consequently thought I had rid myself of the need for material possessions, but it has not proved so, when I have a couple of extra pounds in my purse I find myself heading to eBay and perusing the bargains often just to spend for the sake of it, I have money, so I will spend it! . . . . it is indeed too much part of our modern-day life to ignore!
So my Lent pledge is to buy nothing that I want, and only that which I need and to pay a fair price for what I buy!– It shouldn’t be so difficult – it’s only 40 days. . . . . . but I have a feeling it’s going to be far harder than it should be! Wish me luck!