Suburban Life

I get stuck in a rut sometimes.  A ‘my life is pointless and selfish’ rut.  Living in the suburbs of Cleveland and being at home with E. full-time occasionally leaves me wondering if I should be finding a way to help–someone.  I get that what I am doing is important.  Really, I do.  We eat well because I value food and take the time to shop locally, cook from scratch, grind my own flour and teach my daughter about how to prepare and enjoy really delicious food that is “good to eat and good to think.”  We make our own laundry detergent, toothpaste, facial scrub, etc.

When I feel stuck in my own small world, I go to a list of people that I love (I actually have a written list in my planner book, and no, I will not tell you who is on it and who isn’t!  It is an ever-fluctuating list) and pick someone.  Then, I call them or try to think of something that would help or please them in some way.  It’s all very fulfilling.

But…

I am wondering if my list of people are too much like me.  There are people out there who are poor.  I mean, really poor.  Don’t know where their next meal is coming from, don’t have a winter coat, don’t have blankets to put on their babies, don’t have a place to stay poor.  I mostly don’t do anything that helps those people.

And I feel like I should.

Actually, I know I should.  It seems pretty clear to me from reading what Jesus said and how he spent his time and energy that caring for the poor, the sick and the disenfranchised was of central importance.

The thing I am struggling with is how to become involved in a way that I will maintain.  The reason for calling my blog “Sustainably Kate” is that I want to find ways to make changes that will last rather than go by the wayside when I get burned out.  I am looking to make lasting progress, not just follow a trend or have a phase.

I believe strongly that the best and most effective way for us to affect a change in the world is by working within our own sphere of influence.  Our daily relationships provide a great opportunity for letting Goodness and Light flow naturally from our lives to others.  What seems off to me about my sphere of influence is that it seems not to regularly include the poor or the sick.

Some things I have read recently make me think that the Catholic Church has some really great ideas about social justice.  More about that may be on the horizon.

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2 Responses to Suburban Life

  1. Julia says:

    This is hard Kate. I really resonate with this! Last time I was feeling this way though, Chris and I were soon bombarded by people coming into our lives with desperate situations! So watch out!!:) I think its really insightful of you to talk about the sustainable part. Chris and I have been learning that the hard way and working with Robert on how to sustain some of these relationships in healthy ways. I will be thinking of you as you explore this issue and am looking forward to hearing your further thoughts.

    • Some parts of progressing and growing as a person are more frustrating than others. I just try to remember the parts that are rewarding. When G. was here the other week she told me, “It was hard living in our neighborhood sometimes but I’m glad we did it because I can definitely see good things that came out of us living there.” Right now I’m just at a part between good results and it’s annoying but I plan to get through it. Hearing you describe going through something similar is helpful and de-isolating. Thank you.

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