I realized today that I bought a string of lantern lights, brand new, last weekend. Every year our town has a big two-month festival, and one part of it is decorating the porch with lanterns. Last year I told the boys that we could get lanterns this year, and when we went to buy tomato plants they spotted a set for $8. I honestly didn't even think about it.
Of course, I'm slightly conflicted about lighting the lanterns. So far we've only admired them in the daylight. It is at junctions like this that I am forced to examine what I believe versus what it is like be as a child. How terrible would it be to light a string of lanterns for an hour or so every few nights? Can we cut our electricity use somewhere else? Can I expect my children to give up so much?
I could still box them up and take them back. I could remind Papa that I hadn't wanted to buy new things, and tell him I had made a mistake. I could talk to the boys about energy usage and the necessary versus the unnecessary. I could do none of these things, light the lanterns a few nights, sit on the front porch, and enjoy our town.
It isn't easy. One of the hardest things is figuring out how much I have to do, as just one person. Certainly I must be part of the solution; I cannot pretend the problems do not exist. But do I take it to the point of living in an unlit, unheated cabin, wearing rags, eating berries and other foraged food. Where is balance?