One day at a time

Our daughter is getting solar panels installed on her roof today.  I wish I could put solar panels on my roof, but that’s against our association’s rules.  My response to their “no” is helping our daughter put solar panels on hers.  Once again, I was reminded that it’s not necessarily the big things that bring about change; it is a whole host of little things.  Each of us doing our small bit.  We dare not wait for the other person to go first.  We each need to do our part, however seemingly insignificant.  That’s how small becomes large.

I find it interesting that we are far more eager to talk about our problems and challenges than to do something about changing them.  I hear lots of talk about climate change, but I don’t see many doing anything about it.   For instance, one of our energy companies wanted to install a local solar farm, but there was so much fuss about how it might look and how it could destroy home values that the company decided to go somewhere else.  Many folks oppose windmills for the same reason.  They don’t like the way they look. Yet solar farms are a win-win because they not only collect the heat from the sun but also preserve precious farmland for future generations, as well as provide food and safety for small animals. 

We want the benefits of green energy but are unwilling to risk or invest anything to bring it about.  We complain about high energy bills but refuse to spend dollars upfront to put in geothermal or solar energy, for instance.  We complain about the cost of gasoline but resist buying electric or hybrid cars because they cost more upfront.  Yet that’s being penny-wise and pound-foolish.  For instance, our other daughter put in geothermal when they built their house over 15 years ago.  They were warned it would take at least ten years to make up the difference in just the installation costs, but they paid everything off in less than five years and have not paid anything since then except hook-up charges for heat, hot water,  or air conditioning.   We are so fixated on right now that we resist investing in the future—which is a complete misunderstanding of living one day at a time.

Living one day at a time involves planning for the future, just as it involves taking time to enjoy the moment.  It means doing what we can now rather than pushing it off to tomorrow.  It also means that while we plan for the future, we do not get so invested in the expected outcome that we freak out when things don’t go as planned.  It means slowing down enough to enjoy the spring flowers,  to actually listen to the music on the radio rather than using it as white noise.  It means tasting your food rather than gulping down a quick snack while rushing off to the next thing.  It means taking time to smile and say hello.

None of us are called to change the world on our own, yet each of us is called to do our small part.  Appointing a committee or talking rarely solves a problem, but shared information, thoughtful conversation, and affirmations, along with action, can make a big difference in ultimate outcomes.  We’ve all heard the comment that the flutter of butterfly wings can be felt around the world, which is simply another way of noting that what each of us does is important, for good or ill.  It’s the logic behind Jesus including “give us this day our daily bread” in The Lord’s Prayer, the exact opposite of  “guarantee our food for the future and all of the luxuries we covet.”  

Enough. That’s what we need to pray for. Enough. Not too little, not too much. Enough. If we’d each settle for enough, there would be plenty for everyone, and when everyone’s basic needs are met, many of the issues related to grinding poverty no longer exist, and everyone benefits.

Oh Lord, don’t let surface things delude us. Keep us from the things and fears that keep us from doing your will.  

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2 months ago

I agree with what you’ve written, though if I were in your shoes I’d be seeing what I could do to get your HOA to eliminate the “no solar” rule. If it didn’t work out by just talking with folks, then legally I’d be bringing it up for a challenge. There’s absolutely no reason to have that rule as it affects no one else, plus, they look great on places and help the planet. We’re beginning the process of building a whole new place to live in and it will be as environmentally friendly as possible – geothermal, solar, and… Read more »

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