By Harry H. on VeganSoapbox.com
Living vegan values in the midst of persons who are indifferent, apathetic, or hostile towards veganism has become a normal lifestyle for me. I am not so naive as to have imagined that people would be delighted to abandon their veal cutlets, steaks, fried chicken, or sausage. Most of us had parents and grandparents who were great cooks that specialized in their meat dishes. In my town of 120,000 people, I have never met either a vegetarian or vegan. This leaves me essentially without any one on one contact with another human being who shares my values. In time I have found that living without support from peers is okay. I cook a great deal, but my relatives all have this and that that they ‘don’t like’ so I dare not bring a covered dish to any event. It matters a lot how I react to such things.
The strength to happily continue vegan living comes from two basic aspects of my experiences. Forty years ago I built a barn on 7 acres of land and raised Welch ponies, donkeys, turkeys, ducks, bantam hens, and dairy goats. These critters were sheltered, fed, and loved. I had no interest in food or dairy products from them. They were simply given a home where they were safe and cared for. If one died, they were respectfully buried. My memory is full of images of happy mother hens with their chicks scratching the earth and clucking happily. The youthful energy of little kid goats scampering in the pasture was a sight to behold, and now remember.
The second aspect of my experience which helps me is my delight in living harmoniously with all of life. In music, one major chord consists of middle C, E, G, and then the next C. In my thinking, I start my life with C, and eventually learn to have compassion and love for mankind. This I would call E. G, the next note in this harmonious chord is choosing extend this caring to all living beings. Once this level is reached, its time to move up even higher to the next C. So, for me, living vegan is a natural progression in harmonious living.
Choosing to honor Vegan principles is a private decision on my part and I am the belief that this practice saves the lives of many living creatures who otherwise would have been slaughtered for food. I believe that any decision of worth must involve a “nobility of purpose”. Choosing to cook and eat as a vegan is a noble endeavor in my opinion and it matters not if those around me share those views. I am determined to find my happiness picturing some happy chicken somewhere clucking in a pasture thanks to me. Others may prefer hip-hop, discordant, melodies for their lives, but I find that living in harmony with all living things brings its own strength which more than overcomes any sense of isolation. Mother Teresa said, “Do not think that love, in order to be genuine, has to be extraordinary. What we need is to love without getting tired.”