Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Belonging

Our world is a world without a place for us to belong. It is a world of strangers with no place to really call home. What has become "home" is no longer a place of belonging to something more, but a place to escape from everything else. It is not our plot of land where we work day by day through our blood, sweat, and tears to aid the soil in bringing forth life. The community no longer exists, but what has replaced it is a grouping of individual entities with no attachment to one another. We can place the blame on technology, the loss of Christian Faith, the increase in individualism, etc. The blame is indeed rightly placed on all of these things, but it is not for us to ask what happened, but what can we do to stop the tide. We need a world where we can again belong to something more than our own little selfish world. We desire a place to again call home, which is more than a house over our head, but a larger community wherein we find a place amongst others. "It is not good for man to be alone." The book of Genesis tells us clearly that man is a social creature, yet we often seek to be our own masters, independent of others. This does not lead us to happiness, but away from a life that is authentically meaningful. Without others we are unable to obey the second greatest commandment: "Love your neighbor as yourself." We desire community, but do not know where to find it. We sit on far ends of the computer staring at each other through connections that allow words to pass, but not love. How many of us are out there desiring a restoration of Christian culture, and wondering what it would be like to belong to a Catholic village. We desire connections to "place" as Wendell Berry often puts it. We seek to be attached to a place, to belong to an individual spot on this great planet where we can plant our feet and our crops and be rooted in the good earth. We have become a whole world of Cains wandering restlessly fleeing from others lest they destroy us. We've gone off and built the great cities where man becomes nameless, and community disappears in a jungle of humanity. We've even found technological inventions to drag our cities out into the country, which has brought about the destruction and demoralization of the peasantry. What we need again is to return to our roots. We desire to be planted deeply in the rich soil of the country along side others who will grow with us. We desire a healthy social order amidst the chaos of modernity. We seek ultimately to belong to something greater than ourselves. I pray that one day we will all find a place of belonging. Pax, Kevin

6 comments:

David Meyer said...

"We sit on far ends of the computer staring at each other through connections that allow words to pass, but not love. How many of us are out there desiring a restoration of Christian culture, and wondering what it would be like to belong to a Catholic village."

Amen. This past weekend I drove over to St. Mary's Ridge parish in Wisconsin and thought how perfect the area would be for such a "village". In fact, my plan currently is to move to that area within the next 2 years.
The idea of a village should not be so hard for us to acomplish. Because with cars, even a 5-10 minute drive away from a neighbor is pretty village-like to us modern suburbanite commuters!
The main thing for me is to get my children into a "place" of "belonging" as you so eloquently describe it. I have never had such a place, but at least I can try to give them a shot at it. I just wish there were already a village out there I could take my family to. I hope this Catholic Land Movement takes hold in some locations around the country.

Anonymous said...

Land values are one of the biggest obstacles in the way. Most folks simply cannot afford land.
Your children,for now,are the start of your community!
Sandra
Callens Honey Farm

Devin Rose said...

Eloquent post, Kevin. So true, and I say this by beaming electrons over five hundred miles of cable. :)

Another obstacle is becoming health insurance. It's cost is growing like a behemoth, and even simple procedures cost thousands of dollars.

But either such community happens from the ground-up, grass roots, or you have to be a billionaire like Monaghan (sp?) who builds his own Catholic village in Florida.

I say: ground up, families find each other and live close by each other...the next step would be helping each other in work, like the Amish do.

Kevin Ford said...

I have people connect by email with me often, askin if there is anything out there like I describe in my posts....my answer is not yet. However, in a sense, I have found a place of belonging right back where I spent the first 19 years of my life. I don't know if St. Leo, KS is forever going to be my place of belonging. It is nice to be around people I've known all my life, even though Catholic culture here is gone. There are still a few faithful Catholics (mostly older folks), but no young families. Maybe we can change that. I know at this time I belong out here. I often realize this when I get things like straw bales for mulch for free from some of the good people out here. The right priest or order could change everything, but my hope for that is little. All I know is that at least I can find God in his woundrous works. I can see him in the star-frosted sky, and in the working of the soil. I may lack regular access to the Catholic culture I long for, but I can have peace in this place where God is still evident in the His Creation.

Kevin

judjohns said...

So very true. Here in West Texas we really feel it, with having to drive to work from 10 miles or more away every day, as the small prairie towns dry up and blow away and the big towns (Lubbock, Amarillo, Abilene, Midland, Odessa) suck up all the water from the aquifer and even a small vegetable garden is unsustainable and the cities look for more ways to steal water. I long for the ability to be a peasant in a village!

Maresa Publishing said...

We just moved to the country, still far form the Church (35 minutes from saint Mary's Ridge, is difficut to find land close to the Ridge....)and I thought I would be isolated without driving a car. Well, as it turns out, I am more socially involved with my neighbors here yhan anywhere else!, it is much like a country town living, I can walk to 5 families around the area that are becoming friends; the thing is, well, they are not Catholics, some Amish, some ex-Amish, some protestants...Son there will be 200 hundred acres for sale in the vicinity plus there is a rustic ridge resort for sale with a Church.. I keep dreaming someday also it will be alive with Catholic life, yet meanwhile God has lead us where we are, and I think I have to make the most of it, by sharing our lifes and faith with our neighbors.