BREAD IS A PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY
Bread making is everyone’s responsibility, even those of us, who are disabled. It is tragic, that more than half of the people in the developed western world are mentally disabled by a brand of thinking, which demands to be fed by the rich. The bad news is that the remaining rich are merely workers with sufficient income to pay their own taxes. They too are rapidly diminishing, and they are beginning to tell those, who depend on them without contributing to the breadbasket, “Go and feed your selves.”
Long ago, Jesus’ disciples had a similar idea. When it was late in the day, they said to Jesus, “This is a desert place and it is late. Send the people away so they can go to the countryside and villages and buy themselves something to eat.” Jesus, however, ordered his disciples to feed the people. A boy provided the bread and they could feed five thousand (Mk. 6:30-44). Later, the disciples shared their lunch and four thousand more were fed (Mk. 8:1-10). It was a miracle then; but for us today, it has become a fact of life. Governments and agencies have become like God; only they do not share their lunch, but coerce those that still work for a living, pay for those that know how to avoid it. Lazy Germans have a slogan, “He who knows work and does not shun it is crazy.” Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels have converted half the world into believing it. Adolf Hitler hated these men because his slogan was, “Work sets man free.” It is ironic, that a man was so despised by so many, had more sense than those, who lead us today. What ever he was, he understood the need for bread, which came from the hands of the workingman. When we were disowned of our land and livelihood, Hitler bought us from the Russians and used us to farm Polish land to raise bread. I know this for a fact, for I am one of those people that worked on such a farm seventy years ago.
We recently went back, to see the place, where I lived four and one half years and it was completely changed. All the beautiful homes, we lived in, were gone and so were the small farms. The waterhole for the cattle in which I almost drowned, at the age of twelve, was no longer there. The lovely garden and school building, which I attended, were gone. The Church, which the Nazi’s had turned into a daycare has been restored, and is, once more, the pride of the community. The land has not been restored into small farms. The communists consolidated all the farms and ran them from Warsaw, Moscow style. They shrunk a seven kilometers village into less than a kilometer with small and similar looking accommodations for the people, who once owned these farms. They had become employees of the state. Now, these little shacks obliterate the road, but the small farmers are not back. Some rich man, who belongs to a conglomerate, is in charge of growing bread. The people have not returned to the land, and they, no longer, raise their bread. We saw a similar landscape in the Check Republic, and we see it in the Americas, even on a larger scale. In all the squabbles over right and wrong, politics, racism and religion, the need for bread as been disregarded. How can we possibly be so blinded, that a single system, like socialism or capitalism, are all managed by one person in control of our bread? Take any “ism” in history, they all used bread to enslave their fellow human beings. Man’s freedom is tied to the land for it supplies him with bread.
I do sound like a monotonous record; but we were refugees three times during World War II, in a strange land, and among strangers. We did a lot of pleading, and we did find sufficient bread to survive. People are not readily willing to hand out bread to strangers or to loafers. Many beggars have made a good living by begging and caused hardships for those that really needed food. I served a Church in Hell’s Kitchen in New York City. Our ladies put on healthy meals and these street people wanted money instead of food for booze. We have allowed, our society, to create an industry, which destroys us with booze and drugs. I think, Jesus had regrets, when He fed the crowds and He got nothing from them. John Zebedee, who was present when Jesus had fed the people, recalled Jesus’ analysis of those two handouts, “I tell you the truth, you are not looking for me, not because you saw miraculous signs but because you ate the loaves and had your fill. Do not work for the food that perishes, but for food that endures to eternal life” (Jn. 6:26-27). Let me rephrase Jesus’ comment and put it into our time. “Seek not after food that destroys you but after food that keeps your life healthy and honorable. If we want to be respected in heaven, we must first be respected or be decent here on earth. It begins with putting bread on the table.”
I love bread and butter and with it a fresh cucumber or a tomato. I am not enticed by elaborate meals. One of our sons has a restaurant and serves tasty and rich meals. I do like the food, but my stomach rebels and makes me eat more soups and vegetables. Once in a while, I do indulge and I suffer for it. I am learning, at eighty-four, to eat food that is good for me, but not popular. Yet, our food industry has successfully popularized junk food. It is popular to eat fatty hamburgers, hotdogs and greasy stakes with buns and French fries, but look what these fat foods have done to our bodies? I should lose between twenty-five and thirty pounds. It has become a bit heavy on my legs. I could blame it on the food producers, but that would be the greatest mistake I would make. It is not, and never should be; what someone else produces, but what I allow into my body to stay healthy and enjoy life. I am responsible for the bread I need to keep me productive in this life. My wife is a very careful shopper. She reads the labels before she buys what we eat and many times bakes her own bread and prepares her own meals. We are responsible for what we eat and not those that supply the food. We can change the food industry by simply buying or making bread, which does not destroy us.
At times, simple folks come our way, and they do remind us of what we should eat, and far too many of us, do not take the responsibility for our own bread. My mother had a boarder. He was a bricklayer, and he was not in the union, where they had a man pass him the bricks and another the mortar. He had to haul bricks and mortar up a ladder. He always ate a solid meal. One day, our mother wanted to do something special for this grumpy man. She baked him a cake. She placed it in front of him before the meal. He assumed it was his dinner and he rudely remarked, “This makes you see far, but not walk far.” He was right. Without solid food, he could not work very long as a bricklayer. He did not stay too long, because my mother’s healthy meals, from her garden could not compete with the fast food restaurants and juicy stakes. Mother did not change her diet or habit of preparing our food. I am deeply indebted to her for own garden philosophy. The reason, I survived a seventy-five percent burns and cancer, is because my mother had put healthy food into my body for the first twenty-one years from her gardens and farms. My parents believed in Sauerkraut and lived to be 92.5 and 93.5 years. One relative was 103 and the Nazis did not tell us what they did with him. We do not know, where they buried or disposed of him. He too believed in Sauerkraut. Of course, I have a ways to go. Unfortunately, I have not been as keen on Sauerkraut.
In our day and age, we really do not know, what we are being feed. We have left it to experts, and they are the once, who legalized treating our food and land with chemicals. Unless, we prepare our soil like our ancestors did and plant the seed before treating it with chemicals, we do not know what we eat. One year, I watched my father mix the seed with a greenish chemical prescribed by the German authorities to kill bugs. We were bigger than the bugs, but we, too, got sick by just inhaling it. We never harvested that crop. The Russians came and we fled to the West. We hear much about organic food; but they do not tell us on what ground it has been produced. It is, more likely, that the produce was grown on land, which was chemically or harmonically enriched. Particularly, the plants that we buy to grow our own tomatoes have been induced with chemical growth hormones. Even the seed, which comes from these tomatoes, already is infected with chemicals. Chemicals that kills pests, also kills life and it also creates diseases. Every time we hear of a cure, we hear of a list of side effects. I take two blood pressure pills and with every prescription, in addition of a list of instructions and warnings, the druggist by law cautions me. What does that tell us?
It tells us that Uncle Sam is tampering with God’s creation. The weeds he is trying to kill with chemicals have become immune. Now, he is looking for the antidote in labs, rather that in the vast lands, which he has laid dormant. Dormant land becomes wasteland. It did not sustain the nomad Indians or the buffalo, nor will it feed the city dweller or Uncle Sam. The relationship, of our present culture, with the land is a fully blown example of cause and effect. We are already beginning to reap, what we have sown. The weeds can, no longer, be separated from the wheat and both are bound for a judgment day, when the hand of man, and not of God, shall condemn itself (Mt. 13:24-30). At the end, it has always been the need for bread, which has torn mankind apart. The ones that were to tend the grain field had fallen asleep and believed themselves to be exempt from their responsibility to watch.