Tuesday, March 29, 2011

What's your Calcutta?

Mother Teresa said, “Find your Calcutta.” Find the broken thing you want to fix, find the lost cause you want to redeem. What’s yours? What’s our purpose, our Calcutta, in Food, Think!?

I searched for it when I was a kid. I handled my zeal for "protecting nature"…

  • Poorly: I took the garden hose and soaked city workers who had been chopping tree roots while installing a sidewalk (whoever you are, I’m very sorry. It was a cold day). 
  • Passionately: I interposed a teary “Don’t shoot!” and foiled the execution of a rattlesnake. 
  • Sacrificially: I dumped my childhood allowance savings into an envelope and mailed it to a rainforest preservation fund.
  • …Better: I wrote out my concerns and tried to influence one who influenced many. My pastor read a handwritten letter from me, an 8-year old, and responded. He taught me the word stewardship. I also learned I needed to be a good listener and learner so my views could mature.    

Almost twenty years later, I still sadden at a scenery change of green to grey. My kids and grandkids would inherit whatever is left after “they paved paradise and put up a parking lot” (Joni Mitchell). One day, they could travel for hours to leave the same city’s limits that sprawl over miles of rich soil (e.g., Houston Black Clay, ).

Calcutta, borough 1: Bad stewardship, where good things get overlooked or undervalued.

Hearing and learning are basic to mutual understanding, which is basic to Food, Think! Here’s a relevant example: if you, your parents, or your grandparents aren’t farmers or ranchers, you’re with 98% of all Americans. That means only 2% of people in this nation have first-hand knowledge of how agriculture works.

Calcutta, borough 2: 98% of Americans may not be making informed choices about products they buy and industries they support.

Calcutta, borough 3: The concerns of 2% of Americans go unheard.

By now, we know the forum, we know the terms, and we will (hopefully) know more about each other. We’ll be staged and ready to discuss the facts and topics in the next posts. My Calcutta has several boroughs: finding worth in the worthless, bringing knowledge to the uninformed, giving a voice to the voiceless…but they reside under one banner: healing relationships. Everyone has a Calcutta. Now, take your turn. What’s your story? What do you Think?

1 comment:

  1. I was reflecting this morning on the thought of "paving paradise". I do not believe that 98% of America understand that agriculture is one common factor that affects every aspect of their lives, and more specifically, soil. Soil affects the food we eat, the clothes we wear, the roads we drive on, and the buildings we live and work in. America has been blessed with some of the most fertile ground in the world and if we do not proactively care for it, it will be gone. It is hard to imagine that 6.8 billion people are crammed onto 30% of the earth's surface. Time to start building up instead of out before we lose what's left for the producers.