Free Indeed

by baldilocks

The weekend posts at Ace of Spades HQ are, for the most part, interest-specific. The guns, food, gardening threads, and my favorite, the Sunday Book Thread, are posted by Ace’s co-bloggers, giving the proprietor the weekend off. Usually.baldilocks

Today, however, there’s a people story posted by one of the co-bloggers, WeirdDave; it’s a recount of a possible attempted grift/robbery. Or, perhaps it was merely a cavalcade of incompetence from an observer’s viewpoint; Dave isn’t sure. Go read it; then come back.

In the comments, many are lamenting the decline of competence–that old can-do spirit–among Americans born later than the Baby Boomer Generation and I agree. I’m a late-born Boomer–1961–but I can’t point the finger too much, however, without pointing at myself. I’m a city girl and a bit of a BAP. However, there are many things that I learned to do in my middle age or had to do because of perceived lack of resources.

A small example: I sell items on the usual websites know for selling and when I went shopping for packing materials, I was appalled at the prices. So, I went online looking for DIY packing materials. When I found them, my response was, “of course.”  I made virtually free packing materials using things I would normally put in the recycle bin: balled-up circulars–which perennially clog my mailbox–and shredded paper stuffed and stapled into brown paper lunch bags. (The bags did cost $2 for two hundred.) I was proud of myself for finding the information, but, in hindsight, it seemed so obvious. And, therein lies another revelation.

You can do what you have to do when you are determined to do what you want to do. And, more often than not, your solution(s) will be right in front of you if you are looking for them. It’s a feature of God’s grace.

And I think that’s the issue which Dave and the commenters are observing: lack of desire to learn new skills , lack of desire to acquire new abilities, lack of desire to improvise, to adapt, and to overcome. It’s a dearth of vision and of faith.

We have become so used to convenience that, when faced with inconvenience and/or adversity, many of us panic or become angry–as if our rights have been violated. We have forgotten that this is a world of Murphy’s Law–if we ever actually learned it in the first place—and, therefore, we fail to make contingency plans for feces to happen. And when feces does happen, we give up—or throw a fit, which amounts to the same thing.

Determination is the missing element in much of 2014’s American population, and I predict that determination’s presence will be the key element of survival in the tougher times to come.

The good thing about determination, though, is this: it’s free…like God’s grace.

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng blogs at baldilocks. Her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game, was published in 2009; the second edition in 2012. Her new novel, Arlen’s Harem, is due in 2014. Help her fund it and help keep her blog alive!