simplify: seeking a more ethical approach to Christmas

simplify - seeking a more ethical approach to Christmas @poetryjoy.com

As I sit with the world at my fingertips, I marvel yet again at the wonder of internet shopping at a mere click. Christmas means I get to buy my favourite people gifts from the comfort of my own home. Yet the relative ease can lull me into a false sense of security and control. Simplicity of consumption can mean loss of the ability to simplify.

Truth is, we’re all in danger of getting sucked into advertising hooks and consumerism’s greedy clutches. It’s all too easy to buy more than we need and neglect to think about its effect on us and the world in general. Though it’s vital that we don’t ignore it.

I’m a bit of a “it might come in useful one day” type of hoarder, truth be told. I’m also a wannabe declutterer and minimalist, who rarely has energy enough for the task. A baby taking tiny baby steps toward living with and spending less.

I have an increasing desire to simplify, purchase wisely and live more mindfully. And an increasing awareness of the heedless way I might be contributing to the world’s carbon footprint and ecological decay. Hence my poetic lament below.

Lament for earth

If the sky cries out
in sympathy
with dry, dusty earth
and sheds hot, salty tears,
then wake me up,
I want to be aware.

Let me not miss
a thing of earth’s
dying gasps,
be it by flood
or fire,
because I want to
cry with her.

Let us all weep now
for our carelessness,
our lack of faithful
caretaking and love,
our inability to take
good care
of our Mother Earth.

We have been
bad custodians,
errant prodigals
and wasteful ones,
who now reap
the cost for our sad
faithlessness,
while we watch its fast
decay and death.
© joylenton

“Then God blessed them and gave them this directive:  ‘Be fruitful and multiply. Populate the earth. I make you trustees of My estate, so care for My creation and rule over the fish of the sea, the birds of the sky, and every creature that roams across the earth.'” – Genesis 1:28 The Voice

simplify - lament for earth poem excerpt (C)joylenton @poetryjoy.com

Here’s a short list of potential gift idea resources (some of which I already use) and books to help us simplify, shop, gift and live more mindfully this Christmas and beyond. Though we need to be wary of letting too many “expert” books and resources discourage us in our seemingly small steps of progress toward our simplifying goals.

Ethical resources and gift ideas:

  1. 12 tips for a plastic free Christmas – Marine Conversation Society
  2. Home of Fair Trade products – Traidcraft Shop
  3. Alternative gifts and occasions at Yumbles
  4. Making it easier to be eco – The Wise House
  5. Living Naturally – The First Soapnut Apothecary in the world

Book suggestions:

  1. No. More. Plastic.: What you can do to make a difference – the #2minutesolution by Martin Dorey
  2. How to Give Up Plastic: A Guide to Changing the World, One Plastic Bottle at a Time by Will McCallum
  3. Turning the Tide on Plastic: How Humanity (And You) Can Make Our Globe Clean Again by Lucy Siegle
  4. Zero Waste Home: The Ultimate Guide to Simplifying Your Life by Bea Johnson
  5. The Minimalist Home: A Room-By-Room Guide to a Decluttered, Refocused Life by Joshua Becker

How have you been able to ethically simplify your Christmas shopping and preparations? I’d love to hear from you and pick up some useful tips! 🙂

simplify - weep now lament poem excerpt (C)joylenton @poetryjoy.com

how: facing seemingly unanswerable questions

 

Questions abound as we watch the news and read reports that make us keep asking how and why, in a futile attempt to try to make sense of what seems senseless and beyond our ken.

Such  questioning thoughts have crowded into my mind, especially in recent months when world events have left me reeling for answers to questions I barely know how to express. Because not everything in life is cut and dried and man’s inhumanity to man is beyond understanding at times.

So I ponder and pray, particularly where injury, and worse, to children is involved. My heart breaks, tears flow and words follow close behind, as in the lament poem below.

Questions without answers

How do you not let your soul grow old, as
calloused as the soles of your feet, when you’re
forced to walk as one displaced, a person
despised for ethnicity and race, made
homeless, rootless, orphaned and lost
in so many ways?

How do you maintain hope when your throat
is always parched and your heart aches for
news of your beloved ones, feared dead, while
you trudge on seeking shelter, trying hard to
assuage the pain of dread?

How do you carry the weight of the world on
your stooped forward, wing-like shoulders, when you
can barely sustain the weight of unshed tears and
the loss you’ve endured, as well as the meagre
belongings you have procured?

How do you cope when there is not enough food to be
found to help a body survive, drink is a desperate word
and your children, who have learnt not to cry
or ask for it, scratch around with stones and sticks
for lack of anything else to amuse themselves with
while their tummies hurt?

How do you keep on believing sufficient help is at hand
and endure the humility of need and receiving, when
you have nothing to offer in return, apart from grateful
thanks, relief and your constant broken state, as you
become yet another faceless, nameless statistic
on TV and newspaper page?

The human spirit has to endure many things as it exists
in this world, but few are called to become uprooted like this
and turned into homeless, displaced souls, whose hope is worn
so low, stretched wafer-thin, whose mind and heart are heavier
than we could truly know or bear
©joylenton

Let’s pray…

Loving Father,
Although we know that nothing is hidden from your awareness, so much distresses our souls as we witness children, weak and vulnerable ones suffering at the hands of others.
Help us to see these atrocities as evidence of sin being unleashed in hearts that are far from you. Enable us to understand that evil unchecked is full of malice and pain.
Teach us to rest in your perfect peace, dwell close to your heart and seek to release our anxiety and fear, while being your love and compassion in action wherever we can.
May we be voices in the wilderness pointing to Jesus. May we believe that all sin meets its match in Him and all questions meet their answer there too. May we trust your Word and promises to be a safe haven for the lost, hurting and dispossessed.
Amen

**Friends, though we might feel helpless, we can raise awareness, pray, give practical aid or donate to help displaced refugees, like my favourite charity does**

Words for wounded warriors

In a season where there is more physical and emotional challenge than usual, it helps to think of others who are also in need.

So many wear smiles on the outside yet feel broken inside.

So many give and give and give some more until they are left as limp, worn-out rags.

It can take all the courage we can muster just to face another day.

And often the most holy thing we can do is just to take a nap.

A heart can ache heavy with unspoken fears and cares.

We can feel alone in a sea of faces.

We can move heaven and earth for our loved ones only to be rejected or neglected.

Try as we might, we cannot suppress all the pain we carry.

As I reflect more on my life in an effort to hear all God may be saying to me, I find myself thrown to my knees more often than not.

And there I discover the One who inhabits all the hard places we find ourselves in.

God’s grace crawls into every crack and crevice of our days.

All the mess and mayhem, muddle and struggle are known to Him.

So we pray…

‘A prayer for the hurting’

God bless the wounded warriors,

the ones who crawl and cry through,

those who press in and press on 

with leaking eyes and leaking wounds,

the battle-scarred and beaten down.

Bless the broken-hearted, bleeding and bruised

 reeds rubbed raw by those who have 

rubbished and rejected them,

those who can barely lift their face

weighed heavy with shame and disgrace.

Hold those who cannot hold on another minute,

whose lives are fear-filled,

whose faces are tear-filled,

who feel empty of worth and value

of no repute, cast aside, left behind.

Keep safe the ones who are drowning,

whose days and nights 

drip with disappointment,

dread, darkness and torment 

of body and soul.

Cradle the lonely;

let your love wash over them,

embrace their emptiness

and fill with the companionship

that only Your Presence provides.

Come alongside the misunderstood,

the marginalised,

the misfits,

the mayhem makers

and risk takers.

Bring strength to the weary,

grace for the weak,

hope for the hurting,

freedom for captives,

peace for the pain.

The path is long, the way is hard,

finishing line too far to see

as we drag there on our knees,

dry and thirsty for relief

desperate for some ease.

Walk with us as you did of old

on sand-crusted shore,

dirt-trodden pathways,

seeking and saving 

those who are lost.

For we need you, Lord Jesus;

Your return seems far off,

We fight and we fail,

shout, cry and rail,

for a touch from above.

Amen

©JoyLenton2013

 “A bruised reed he will not break, and a smouldering wick he will not snuff out” ~ Isaiah 42:3

This poetic prayer lament appeared first on Words of Joy. It is a heart’s cry God delights to answer. Hungry, hurting hearts will always find grace to help in time of need.

May it bless you to read it here and remember that God is with you in every trouble, trial and testing. If you would like me to pray for a specific need, please reply in the comments below.

And keep in mind that God loves you so much, just as you are ~ He really does ~ and wants above all things for you to seek His face in the everyday challenges of life.