On my way from Gothenburg to Frankfort a while back, there was a young girl and her boyfriend in their early 20’s. The girl was terrified upon takeoff and during the flight. Her boyfriend and the various people around her tried to assure her everything was OK.
At first I thought it was a joke, she was not “afraid” but more nervous. However, as I watched her during the flight I started to understand it was something more serious. This young lady was afraid for her life to her core.
This got me thinking about myself, people and society overall. Have we become disconnected about the world around us? Are we passionately valuing life for what it is, or are we in pursuit of the next thing or buying the next gadget? Forgetting what life is about?
I am not saying this young lady had the ability to make a good assessment of the situation. She clearly could not. She had no way to trust what people around her (including her boyfriend) were telling her. She was at the time more connected to her soul than most of us are ever. Her sense of being was known to her even if it was driven by fear.
The reality of the flight that day.
The sky that day was perfectly clear. A couple of bumps here or there, but you honestly get more ups and downs driving to your local corner supermarket. It was a very comfortable flight. I even overheard the stewardess tell her, “if you don’t see us upset there is nothing to worry about”, but that statement had little impact to her. *this is also a good mental note for my future flights!
In society, I see many times we are disconnected and quick to allow life to be shortened. Take for example when your pet is very sick and at end of their life. Emotionally we try not to think about what to do next (not that we don’t care about our pets) but we are not connected to ending their life directly ourselves. Our human side and brain know that once an animal has reached a certain point it is our responsibility to speak for them and do the right thing. For the most part, you take your pet to the vet and they get a shot to put them to sleep. Today you can even ask them to bury or cremate them for you. All you do is pay the bill and leave.
I fear in modern times this process disconnects us. If you have never hunted with a bow, shot a gun or used a shovel to end a life (thinking about Copperhead snakes in North Carolina) you may not understand my thoughts here.
The stress placed on you as a human to end a life is one of the most stressful things I have gone through. Today we are not directly involved as we once were. In the past, it was placed on people directly. As an example, in the last 100 years, it was common for people to have animals in their yards that were used for food. Chickens, Goats, Rabbits etc. that served as a food supply for milk, eggs and meat.
I remember my dad telling me about his grandmother who had a prep table just out the back door of her kitchen. He would watch her go out, grab a chicken by the neck and swing it round and round until it’s neck was broken. Then out came the meat cleaver and then prepping the chicken for dinner. It was a necessary event for meals, that today we don’t even want to think about.
So back to the story about this lady flying in front of me on the plane. I think in my mind it shows how numb we have become. The measurement about the value of life is not the same as what it once was – we are somewhat disconnected from it.
What if we had real passion and a God-fearing zest for life?
How many children would have better households to grow up in? If we focused our daily lives away from the need to pay for large Homes, paying for every activity under the sun for our kids. Buying that new trendy toy and clothes what would happen? Would Volvo, Audi and BMW go out of business?
I don’t think so – but looking at the very hot new Volvo V90 wagon in Sweden, as nice as it is the price point is very high. In the U.S. the entry point for the “street” version is $45k (black R-Line below is into the 50’s) and for the off-road Cross Country starts at $55K. Hey let me tell you, I am a great fan and think the world of these new cars. However at some point you have to ask yourself why am I paying such a high price for a car? A car is one of the largest cost of living items we have, however what if you bought something different? Let’s say an older car with low mileage? You could lease a car to lower your monthly costs but either way – the amount of cost for insurance, taxes etc. just keeps building.
I can’t tell you that I have all the answers, all I do know and see is that our world today is not what God intended. The amount of stress placed on a husband and wife to meet these financial obligations impacts our relationships and our freedom.
What we can do is trying to connect ourselves to our loved ones in new ways, or ways that were lost over time?
Here are some ideas on how to connect with your family’s life in a better way that you might already do in your house.
- Our house is not the largest of homes, this helps us corral in the same room (typically we hang out in our living room and not in separate corners). Even if we are not participating in the same activity, we chat, laugh, yell and cry in the same room (only the girls cry not me!). This has helped us bond together in ways I never expected. The size of your home may not matter if everyone is typically hanging out in the same room and not going to separate locations is the key.
- Don’t purchase every trending gadget or toy. Only buy needed, not wanted things. Save the “wants” for special events like Birthdays and Christmas and don’t go over the top (they don’t need gadgets they need you!). Then assess what they will use, we try to only buy things the girls will use and not put down in ten minutes. After all most of these things will be forgotten in a week or two.
- Talk to your kids about the responsibility of taking care of possessions. God does not bless us with the ability to purchase items for us to take them for granted. Too many times I see people treat possessions like they have no value. I am not saying that “things” are to be worshiped – however we need to respect and take care of what we own. Just like our environment, we should never pollute or cause undue harm to the world God gave us, we should have a balanced approach. Teach your kids to take care of what they have, it will serve them well throughout their life. I think about the cars that I have owned. By taking care of them not only did I keep them around longer than most people, when it came time to sell them they were worth more than average. In most cases over 20% more that average asking prices.
- Pray with your family over meals, before going to bed when times are good or bad. Our humbling of ourselves to a greater power also helps us align how small we are but also that we are part of a larger system. One of Creation and hierarchy.
- How many times have your heard from various sources about how important it is to sit down with your family for dinner? No matter the stages of life your kids are in (or even if you don’t have kids) it is essential to break bread together. This maybe the one meal you all can sit together too because of schedules. It is important to grow our connection to our family members everyday. This is one way we can find out what happened for the day. Which opens the door for other conversations.
I hope that some of these ideas and thoughts can spur some conversation in your home. What is the value of life? I believe it is not things but our connection to family and friends, that is why we are here. Have we lost a connection to it? In some ways yes, however conversations such as these are important for us to discuss these things with our significant others as well as friends and family members.