Courage to Change the Things We Can

It’s been over a year since the lockdowns, restrictions, supply chain disruptions and all of the other problems related to Covid-19 began, not the least of which have been the deaths of 580,000+ people and counting. A great deal surrounding this has been politicized in all directions. Politics has been characterized as “war by other means,” and it has long been known that “the first casualty of war is the truth.”

Because it would be close to impossible to unscramble all that messaging, I try to focus as much as possible on the human element: human needs, human relationships and things like that. For thousands of years the average person didn’t have to worry about politics. The “game of thrones” was someone else’s problem that didn’t really affect the average person’s daily life. It has only been in the past couple of hundred years that ordinary people have had any role to play, and the fact we have such a role to play as others jockey for position has made us the target of pretty much non-stop efforts at persuasion with varying degrees of veracity. Politics is reported like a football game and may well have become our de-facto national sport, except that the rivalries have become serious enough to be incredibly dangerous all on their own.

What I am getting at, here, is that I don’t so much avoid politics as sit above it. As people “on the ground,” we have to deal with what is real, no matter how we vote in elections. Although some people have a high degree of security, most of us don’t. Economic rises and falls, lockdowns that disrupt supply chains, regulations that allow meat from other countries to not be labeled as such … these all affect us. They affect our sense of security, and because of that, they create a level of anxiety in the background, that sits there like a barely noticed high-pitched whine that makes everything more difficult.

And now we are seeing prices at the grocery store rise. It’s the very last thing people need when so much else has become insecure.

Reinhold Niebuhr wrote a prayer so famous that nearly everyone has seen or heard it. It’s fame spreads from its simple wisdom and truth:

God, please grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
the courage to change the things I can,
and the wisdom to know the difference.

This also works in reverse. That is, if you make the effort to change the things that you can change, you will be far more serene in the face of those things you cannot.

And thus the focus of my books. There’s little we can do about prices at the grocery store, or even the empty shelves and smaller packages. And we can’t snap our fingers and make Covid-19 go away. But we can create some raised beds and start raising our own food. Raising our own food gives us an area where, through our own efforts, we can create an aspect of security in our own lives. This sense of effectiveness and security puts us in a far better position from which we can confront the unknown while also revealing that often we accept limitations without testing, and that we are often far more capable than we realize.

I am grateful that the books I have written thus far have been of such great value to so many people during this crisis. As always, if you run into any questions, let me know via the contact form!