December 9, 2020

The Pain of Care

by christopherabdo

I had a conversation with someone the other day when I recalled a story of when I was in my room, and I brought all my toys out, and I sat my dad down and said "Dad, I don't need all these toys, I want to give them away to the homeless." My dad, who frequently abandoned his own needs for others, who, in his last days, still lived in a house in the poor side of town, not because he couldn't afford a better one, but because he wanted to help the poor.  Still, for some reason I'll never know, he tried to explain to me why I should appreciate what I have and not to give away all my toys. 

I had totally forgotten about that story until a few weeks ago. I wondered: "huh, I wonder what happened? What ever happened to that part of me that wanted more equality in the world?" 

I didn't think much of it. As I've worked through this blog, I've been slowly chipping away at what I'm really trying to get at here. Why do I feel so driven to spread gardening? Why have I known pretty much my whole life, in this weirdly instinctual, intuitive way, that I don't want children? I could feel, in my soul, that I need to make room, lots of room, for something else. For a cause. 

After writing I Stand for Water, something started to change. It was like a sore spot was found somewhere in my heart. It was this deeply painful, helpless feeling that there is all this suffering in the world, and not one damn thing I can do about it...or that what I can do, will never, ever, be enough. 

I went to the garden, it was beautiful sunny day, I felt incredibly rich, incredibly thankful. On my way home, I saw a homeless man with a cardboard sign that said "hungry" with his dog. I completely fell apart and started crying. I'm crying as I write this. 


I realized that, my unconscious resistance towards abundance (especially financial abundance) for myself was in part because it would really highlight this inequity in the world. I didn't want to feel all that pain, and it seems the better my life gets, the bigger that contrast is, the more painful it feels. 

Today, I took my most nutritious, filling, delicious foods in my apartment (and yes of course my sprouts/microgreens) and I made a meal. I got the dog food for his dog,  got a package together, went back and brought that homeless man a meal. I didn't feel better. In fact, I felt worse, and I cried even more, because it made all this suffering in the world so very real. 

I find tremendous hope in many of the solutions showing up in the world today that model nature. I'm excited to share those solutions. My heart wants me to remember to feel the pain of care. I hope it becomes the water that makes the world a little more open to grow. 

As a reminder, mostly for myself but also for anyone who wants to contribute, these are the projects I'm working towards water. Before there is food for everyone, there is water. 

This what I can do now, to stand for water for all: 

I can write blog posts, sharing stories of others who have made a difference (super excited about these coming up!) 

I can show how to make the most use of the government-water by supporting as much life as you can. 

I can conserve water by making self-watering systems. 

I can learn how to gather water on my garden plot making it safe for drinking.

I can invite you to help me set up a rainwater barrel, in whatever way you can. 

I can build my income so I can have land, so I can do this most basic thing. 

I can reach out and say "is there anyone out there who would like to make this reality more possible?" 

I can bring love and understanding to everyone involved within this system of water, while also holding steadfast to change. 


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