There won’t be any Reese Cups given from our house this year for Halloween. It is hands down our favorite candy, and the Peanut at two distinguishes between chok-at and all other kinds of candy. She knows the good stuff. (The Rooster isn’t picky, she just grunts and chants eat-eat-eat, then switches to a raucous YEAH with hands literally above her head any time you put food on her tray.) But this year we aren’t buying Reese cups or any other candy made by Hershey or Nestle for that matter.
It started with the discovery of the blog Rage Against the Minivan a few weeks back. She wrote about Fair Trade chocolate and the reality that most of the cocoa harvested is done so by kids, kids younger than my students. I shrugged my shoulders. Is what I do really going to make a difference? Everything is tainted nothing is fair. Besides, I had a birthday party coming up where all I was going to serve were s’mores. Everyone knows that s’mores are to be made with Hershey’s chocolate. Duh.
Then, I was reading that book I can’t shut up about A Year of Biblical Womanhood, and there in the middle of the justice chapter is Rachel Held Evans and her husband taste testing fair trade chocolate, because they also could no longer ignore the information they had about labor practices and chocolate.
Still I was stubborn. Fair trade isn’t guaranteed to do anything anyway, I reasoned. There are lots of problems with it. (I know, I have spent countless hours in the speech and debate world hearing all about it.) If I can’t be sure that I am doing better, then why should I even bother? Plus, I didn’t want to.
I just didn’t want to. It was inconvenient, this information came onto my radar right before my birthday, right before Halloween and it interrupted my habits. Isn’t it someone else’s turn? I asked God. Surely I have enough on my plate right now. I am entirely too busy to be worried about any of this business. It is all I can do lately to make sure everyone is wearing clothes and getting fed.
I am overwhelmed all the changes that I know I should make as a consumer. I have Food Inc. and Forks over Knives on the Netflix queue, and have for quite some time. I know if I watch them I would probably be forced to change my eating habits and what I am feeding my kids. So I haven’t watched them. I’ve read about the problem of cheap, disposable clothing, and if I had the time would love to spend hours on end in thrift stores and flea markets looking for the pieces I want. But it is all I can do to get my kids in and out of Target with all of my hair in tact. I have cut down on the sale t-shirt habit and ask myself, do I really need that, but I know that isn’t really the solution. We own cloth diapers that I used faithfully with the Peanut, but cannot seem to get into the swing of it with the Rooster. I don’t recycle everything I could. I don’t even know how to compost.
It all seems so overwhelming. I don’t want to seem hypocritical. If I say something about Reese Cups shouldn’t I then go to only organic, fair trade, etc. etc. etc.?
I don’t know what the answer to all of that is, and maybe throwing this out there on the internet is asking for all the criticism I am already heaping upon myself. But I do know that God, for whatever reason, has put this on my heart. We wrestled this one out, God and I, and this is where I stand. We switched to Cadbury and Ghiradelli for the s’mores and will be giving out non-chocolate candy to the kids that come by. (As soon as we run out of the left over chocolate bars from the party. That is right. This year we are the full-size-candy-bar house.)
I am not sure why right now, this is the call on my heart. It feels as though this decision doesn’t matter….even as it feels like it does matter. Is this what obedience feels like? What being faithful is like? Is this what it is to put one foot in front of the other with a hope that He can work my tiny sacrifice into something greater?
I don’t know….I just know that this Halloween I have traded in my Reese Cups for Mike and Ikes and even as I am sure it couldn’t matter less. I have a strong sense that it does matter….if only to my God.