Day 4: This little piggy...

I was skimming Facebook and saw a video I had watched before, but I couldn't help clicking on it again. Watching that sweet little piggy wait so patiently for a piece of salad took me back to my own little pet pig that I had when I was about 4 years old. Her name was Captain. I loved that piggy. I have pictures of she and I when she was small enough to be around. When she got bigger, my father fenced off a large part of the yard for her and for our dog Flipper. They would play and chase each other all day. We had to move from our house, so my father found a man who would care for the pig with monthly payments for food. A few months after we moved, we took a family trip out to visit Captain. The man said that the pig must have gotten away, as she was not in her pen when we came to visit. My father was convinced that the pig was either eaten by that man, or sold for the same fate. As I think back to that time, bacon and sausage losses their draw. I constantly battle with the smell and taste of all cooked meat and the terrible truths behind the dinner on the plate.

Just last week, our staff played our annual game of turkey bowling where each person hurled a frozen turkey in its plastic netting down the hall towards ten neatly set bowling pins. While this was a good time of laughing and camaraderie, there was a moment when I wondered what people would do if we were sliding a frozen house cat towards the pins. This innocent game is actually very barbaric at its core. Well, come on... The turkey is dead. Yes, but that turkey was raised in terrible, packed conditions and most likely violently killed so that we could toss it down the hallway, laugh and completely render it useless for consumption. A waste of food, but more importantly, a waste of a life.

I hate to make a stand when it comes to eating, because I am so fickle. It's so easy to slide back into my old ways. Today is Day 4 of meatless eating. I know that it is a stupid time to do it, with the impending holidays, but I am finding myself sickened and re-impassioned about eliminating meat from my diet. Aside from the health benefits, there is something to be said about eating clean and peacefully. The stress and fear that our farm animals live in prior to becoming our favorite meal must somehow transfer to us as we eat. So today, I find myself at a place of decision. While it may not be easy, nor popular, I have to make a decision for myself. How will I decide? What will be my motivator? Health? Justice? Compassion? All the above? It will never cease to amaze me how I have made such solid and steadfast decisions about other areas of my life, yet when it comes to food, I always falter. Why is food my nemesis? Like a thorn in Paul's side it is a constant reminder of my humanity. While that should send me into a spiral of depression, I choose to let it empower me. Vincent van Gogh said “If you hear a voice within you say you cannot paint, then by all means paint and that voice will be silenced.” Though I may falter, I will continue. I will make my choice and be steadfast. It is decision time. Will I take the easy path, the one I have always known? The one that has brought me to where I am? Shall I continue on that path? Or, will I find a new way, one that is less traveled, less popular? As Robert Frost so aptly penned:

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I--
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.


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