In Whitman County, Washington, if you’re not working in either the healthcare industry, retail, grocery, government or a nonprofit, chances are you’re either a truck driver or working for a farmer of some sort. And even if you’re lucky enough to work within the education system or at Washington State University, you still probably know somebody who is a farmer or who works in the fields. And if you do work in the agriculture industry and you’re not growing crops, then you’re probably raising animals. Driving down Highway 26 that’s pretty much what you see, either wheat and hay fields or cows. I’m proud of the industries that my community supports. Farmers & ranchers feed America, and Truckers bring that food to the stores so you can buy it, bring it home and feed your family. In my little community, everyone build connections, and as everyone has a pretty good idea of what the other person is doing, a lot of community outreach and love is built between each other. If not love, then at least friendship and acknowledgement.
This brings me to the main topic of today’s post. In our little corner of Whitman County, we have a very close family friend. She and her husband are fixtures of our little town and the kids just love them to death. She is the executive director of a nonprofit organization that helps get food out to those who really need it. Her husband is an integral and active part of community life as well.
Together these two operate a livestock animal rescue program near our home. These people are some of the nicest people you will ever meet and they truly care about the health and welfare of animals. They are also really big supporters of the agricultural and cattle industry.
If you go to the county fair, you’ll see signs for their little non-profit Animal Sanctuary. Their home has become a wonderful place where animals with special needs can live out their days in peace. But then the internet trolls attacked.
Okay, in all actuality it was far left vegan ideologists who started an online smear campaign against my friend and her animal sanctuary. Someone found out about a goat she once had before her not for profit sanctuary days. This goat was just a farm goat, but was quite troublesome. And when I say troublesome, I mean he was a pain in the ass. He would charge and attack anyone who was inside his pen or even outside. As a full grown billy goat, he had a lot of strength and could do some serious damage. Trust me, I have first-hand experience with another troublesome billy goat, and when I got rammed in the legs, I had bruises for weeks.
My friend’s goat ended up going to a new home and eventually he was butchered for meat. Because of this, the angry vegan trolls crawled their way out of the internet to vent their anger at this injustice. How dare you butcher a animal at a sanctuary! Have you no shame?! You don’t deserve to be a non-profit! Yadda yadda yadda, etc etc. Remember, this all happened before she even set up her nonprofit animal sanctuary and the troublesome goat was just a farm animal living on a farm.
Okay so where we? Ah, yes. The vegans attack! I have nothing against people who choose the vegan lifestyle. In fact I have a lot of respect for people who choose not to eat or consume any products made from or by animals. It’s not the lifestyle for me as I do enjoy meat eggs and dairy products. I can respect that lifestyle and would not force my Orthodox lifestyle or beliefs upon someone who holds a lifestyle that is different from me.
But what I am unable to understand is why somebody would attack another person online simply because their way of life and beliefs differ from your own. It’s almost like these people are fanatics and are unable to see anybody else’s point of view except their own. It’s their way or the highway. And if you don’t subscribe to their beliefs then shame on you. The amount of hate and anger that was being directed at my friend from complete internet strangers was mind-boggling. People we’ve never met were sending threats and posting hateful comments on my friend’s Facebook page. It’s almost as if these people had something missing and the only way that they could fill that void in their life is by attacking and hurting other people on the internet.
I think I know what these people, and much of society as a whole is missing. I believe the problem is an absence of Christ. Sure, you can be a Christian and try to live a Christian Life, but if you don’t have Christ in your heart all of the time, then other things of the world will fill that space.
St. Porphyrios said “when people are empty of Christ, a thousand and one other things come and fill them up: jealousies, hatreds, boredom, melancholy, resentment, a worldly outlook, worldly pleasures. Try to fill your soul with Christ so that it’s not empty.”
I’m totally guilty of this myself. I get easily distracted by worldly possessions and other shiny trinkets. Instead of finishing the half-dozen Orthodox audiobooks I have on Audible, I got distracted and started the Game of Thrones series. And instead of writing a new Orthodox trucker post, I put it on the back burner for almost 3 months. Then when I got bored of GoT, I moved on to Pokemon and then podcasts detailing videogame history and lore.
Looking back over the last couple months I see a correlation between a lot of the chaos that we’ve been experiencing as of late, especially in regards to the coronavirus lockdown, the numerous different protests, the Civil Injustice that is becoming so widespread across the the Nation and my own lack of involvement within my own Orthodox Trucker platform. It’s not that I didn’t want to talk about any of it, but rather it’s all just so exhausting I didn’t want to even focus on it. Then when the internet trolls came out and attacked my friend, I got angry and really emotional and because of that I was reminded about my own failings and how by my own turning away from the societal turmoils I also allowed myself to be distant from God. I cocooned myself in my own little world, because it was easier then actually having to deal with all of the outside problems.
While all of those things were fun and enjoyable, they distract from my ultimate goal- which is to enter the kingdom of heaven. Because I can see the problem within my own self, I can then ask the question… if I’m allowing the world to distract me from Christ, how many others are suffering from the same problem?
The absence of Christ in one’s life is like an opening door and allowing the harsh elements to enter. It’s important for me to point out right now that I do not say these things from any form of moral or spiritual superiority. I am not holier than thou, rather I am the greatest among sinners. I say it from firsthand experience. My brokenness and the things that Christ does with my broken pieces enables me to spread his message and to encourage others to reach out to Christ.
I will talk further about the problems that I see society having and my own opinions on how to fix it later. It’s a post that I’ve been meaning to write but I have stayed away from out of fear from tooting my own horn.
For now I would just like to ask everyone please be civil with each other. Whether it be online or in person, try to be civil with each other and treat others same way that you would be treated.
Thanks for reading my friends. I apologize for my severe lack of posts lately. I’ve had several that I wanted to write and some that I even started. Maybe over the next couple days I can get those worked out.
Until next time I friend stay safe and be good to one another!