I was listening to NPR today, they were talking about the book of Job. Yes – that Job – the poor soul who lost everything because Satan and God got into a pissing match. The classic tale of suffering. More than that – suffering for no reason, the pains Job went through were not punishment. Messes up the tidy ideas I try to parent with sometimes – okay often- doesn’t it? The punishment should fit the crime, blah, blah, blah.
I happened to be taking a Wisdom Literature course as an elective in college and studying the book of Job, at the same time that my sister was dying of a brain tumor. As my pigs would say, “uh.”
The guy talking today said we humans are left with two choices when confronted with suffering, to die or to not care, he noted that the ‘not caring’ perspective was a viable option as per humanism. I’ll have to think on that one a bit more.
One question I am constantly asked as a farmer, is, “how can you do this to your kids? Raise animals, love them and then eat them! How can you do that to yourself?” Okay, that is two questions but go with me here.
Hence the muttering to myself. How can I do this? Particularly when I don’t have to, I could go down the market and buy everything we eat.
The question isn’t really about food is it. The question is about suffering. Why do I inflict this pain onto myself and my kids? Deliberately, unnecessarily.
I wish I could say I get used to it, the kids get used it. We don’t. In fact, I find it more and more painful each year. Perhaps as I gain more respect and understanding of my animals.
I don’t enjoy killing them. I hate it. I dread ‘the day’ and mourn for days after.
Somebody recently suggested it is more efficient to raise rabbits for meat than beef. “why don’t you raise more rabbits and no beef?” I have several answers to that question but the most important answer for me? “Why take all those lives? Is a rabbit’s life less valuable than a cow’s life?”
Efficiency – maybe – should not be a part of the food equation.
I am sure there are folks who’d say – “but there are so many people – we can’t throw out efficiency, we have to feed them all.” Maybe there would be less people if we threw out efficiency. Maybe there’d be less obesity if we threw out efficiency.
Maybe if we accepted that eating food is and should be a form of suffering – then maybe this Job story would make more sense.
Life hurts! Death hurts!
Who ever told us it shouldn’t?
The holier-than-thou part of me would say this, “Choosing to be a farmer, choosing to eat what you kill, and kill what you eat is choosing to be a high-priestess in life, it is choosing to live a spirit-filled life. It is choosing to wrestle with life and death on a daily basis. ”
The guy NPR is right, an alternative is choosing to not care. Hence the need for movies like Food, Inc. There are people in this world involved in food production, food production based entirely on not caring.
Choosing to go the market and eat food that requires no spiritual responsibility on the partakers part – it is easier, it is simpler, and it doesn’t hurt the partaker as much. But someone, somewhere still suffers.
And if I mutter anymore I’ll have tendonitis or something – maybe a brain cramp. Have got to go put the pigs back in their pen.