For those of you who didn't know, about two months ago I decided to try my hand (again) at vegetarianism. It was something I had been thinking about for most of the past year and was inspired by some friends that visited from Florida who also lived in community and had recently gone meatless. I struggled with how it would affect my very carnivorous community, running the risk of being a hassle more than a new and exciting challenge. Floridian friends said that there were ways to skirt around the community obligations and so I decided that it was worth a shot.
My quest for vegetarianism wasn't morally based in any way. I saw it more as a discipline, a challenge, something that would allow me to turn to God on a more consistent basis. It was also an effort to eat healthier, my logic being that most vegetarian options are far healthier than their meaty counterparts. As with any good new endeavor, consistent and regular re-evaluation is necessary to examine motives, missions, and success. Over the past week or so I began to question the sustainability of my latest attempt to better myself. I thought a lot about how, without any type of moral basis, it wouldn't be something that I could really maintain with any type of success and with minimal misery. Additionally, I was consequently eating more and more sweets to satiate the hunger that was derived from my lack of protein, another far cry from the discipline I'd been seeking.
The result: a delicious dinner of meatloaf, mashed potatoes and broccoli prepared by the sisters at the Team meal last night!
I worried that this would be a cop-out to my self-imposed discipline but resolved myself to the fact that I wasn't really disciplining myself in any way because of the other ways I'd satisfy myself. I challenge myself to find other ways to reach God and to eat healthier, unfortunately I think this whole Water Ice thing Philadelphia has going for it really gets in the way of my goals!
This did, however, get me to thinking about what it is that drives us to act in the way we do and what it is that stops us from doing wrong. It is our moral compass that generally guides our actions. After this experience, I realize how much of what I do depends on my own morality. It is my morals that keeps me in the trenches, serving my brothers and sisters because it is wrong for people to be suffering from anything, let alone hunger. When actions are rooted in morals, it is a whole lot easier to maintain and sustain what is being done because there's a goal, there's a bigger drive that exists outside yourself. My attempt at vegetarianism wasn't rooted in the morality of killing animals or their unjust treatment for our benefit, but was done simply for my own benefit.
I recently had a discussion with a friend who mentioned to someone else what I'd been spending my time doing for the past two years and her response was, "well, most people do that for selfish reasons anyway." Agreed. However, in order to successfully help people, you absolutely cannot be doing it for selfish reasons. Not only does it affect your work, but the people you are serving can tell that your heart just isn't in it. Instead of serving God or serving your brothers and sisters, you serve yourself, which initially can satisfy someone, but certainly is not sustainable.
I certainly didn't expect my stint at vegetarianism to erupt in me this whole thought tangent regarding morality but it is amazing how God works in us in this way. The moral of today's blog? Eat meat. And act with your heart. Love you all!