I often hear people say that they feel like they were born in the wrong time, and I sometimes feel the same way, but I’ve come to believe that the reason behind these feelings is the lack of authenticity in our modern lives.
In a way, our lives are no longer “real”. They might be easier, but the satisfaction and depth that comes from real interactions is becoming lost.
Consider the food you eat, for example. So many of us now buy meals that are prepared by others. Meals that are unlikely to be fresh. Meals that are not made with love. Meals that do not allow us to control what we are feeding our bodies (or poisoning our bodies with, either).
Even if we do cook our own meals, we’ve removed ourselves from the experience of growing our own food. Our fingers are not tainted by the smell of freshly picked herbs as we cook. We’ve forgotten the sweetness of an heirloom carrot freshly pulled from the ground, and instead accept tasteless impostors that are bred for mass production.
In our homes, we prefer to switch on a heater for the sake of convenience, rather than chop wood and create fire. We have electronic devices that do things for us, choosing music for us and controlling our environment. We don’t even get out of our chairs to change the channel on the television anymore!
“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear; nor did I wish to practice resignation, unless it was quite necessary. I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to live so sturdily and Spartan-like as to put to rout all that was not life, to cut a broad swath and shave close, to drive life into a corner, and reduce it to its lowest terms.”
[Henry David Thoreau – Walden]
Furthermore, in this shrinking world, our interactions with others are often virtual. We knowingly watch edited and censored versions of other people’s lives, with the reality and pain carefully cut out, only to be shocked later on when we discover that they had been existing in pain and loneliness.
People have relationships from afar that are defined by the persona chosen by those involved, fantasising about how things might be, yet avoiding the messiness and courage required to show up and really love one another in the flesh.
Even when faced with a real person, we allow our minds and focus to be torn away by our phones, our to-do list, or the television in the background. Do we value our loved ones so little that we would not grace them with our full attention?
We are bombarded by images of the human body that are deemed beautiful, so that when faced with the real thing (our own or that of another), we respond with disappointment and loathing. We forget how wonderful and complex our bodies really are, and don’t acknowledge them for the amazing things they do, and the joy they can bring us.
Instead of looking at moonlight, we immerse ourselves in artificial light. Instead of feeling the earth between our toes, we wear our shoes everywhere. We walk past our fellow humans without saying hello. We’ve forgotten to talk to the trees. We don’t jump in puddles for fear of being thought childish. We watch cute cat videos on YouTube instead of burying our faces in the fur of a real cat and smelling the dirt on her paws.
Many will say they have no time in this busy world to create a more handmade life. Busy doing what? Watching TV? Checking for likes on social media? Looking for other people’s adventures on Twitter? Waiting for a meal to arrive? Shopping for the next best thing?
God gave us this beautiful world so that we could make it our playground. He gave us other people so that we can feel the joy of bravely loving them till it hurts. He gave us bodies so that we can move, explore, touch, smell, and immerse ourselves in the creation of our lives, or in each other.
Ask yourself: are you living a life in three dimensions? It should be imperfect, self-crafted, messy, riddled with mistakes, and filled with crazy love.
What are you waiting for?
Photo by James Wheeler on Pexels.com