Barbara Kingsolver was interviewed by World Ark, Heifer International’s bi-monthly magazine, about her newest book, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle. The book describes her family’s yearlong pledge to eat only locally-produced foods. In response to a question about “moments of miracle on this journey,” Kingsolver replied:
For me, the biggest miracle is the fact that this project, which may have seemed to us in the beginning to be an exercise in deprivation, very quickly guided us through a paradigm shift. Very quickly, we came to see this way of living with a sense of gratitude.
We moved from beginning each meal by asking. “What do I feel like?” to asking, “What do we have?” We would look at what’s coming in — what’s wonderful and abundant right now — and work from there. It was very valuable for our family, and it’s a wonderful way to live. It’s a paradigm shift that all of us could probably use in our lives.
We are easily seduced by convenience and quickly jaded by an overabundance of, well, just about everything. But convenience and overabundance mask the ongoing reality of a world where most folks don’t have even enough, and where we, who have more than enough, are often deprived, too. We are deprived of gratitude, because things come to us too easily, and we are deprived of joy, because the price of convenience is quality. What comes quick and easy and cheap IS quick and easy and cheap.
The Kingsolvers’ experiment is interesting — even if it was done for the sake of a book! — but what I find most interesting about it is this rediscovery of a sense of gratitude, of finding again the daily rhythm of prayer and thanksgiving to which Jesus invites us: “This is how you should pray … ‘Give us this day our daily bread.'”