- The current situation does not help people to become patient. In the past, life was peaceful and people were peaceful and had the endurance to be patient. Today hate has invaded the world and people have become impatient. In the old days people knew they could eat tomatoes by the end of June, for example, and they were not concerned about it. They would wait until August to eat a watermelon. They knew in what season they would eat melon or figs. But today they will import tomatoes from Egypt earlier rather than eat oranges, which contain the same vitamins. You may tell someone, "Come on, why don't you wait and find someting else to eat now?" But no, he'd rather go to Egypt and get tomatoes. When people in Crete realized that, they started constructing hothouses in order to grow tomatoes faster. Now they constructed hothouses everywhere in order to have tomatoes availalable in the winter. They will work themselves to death to build hothouses, to grow all kinds of foods and make them available throughout the year, so that people will not have to wait.
And let's say that this is not that bad. But they go even further. The tomatoes are green in the evening and in the morning they have turned into plump red tomatoes! I scolded an officer of state once regarding this matter. "Having hothouses is one thing." I said, "but using hormones to ripen the fruits, tomatoes and so on, overnight, is going too far because people who are hormone sensitive will be harmed." They have destroyed the animals too: chickens, cattle, they are all affected. They use hormones to make a forty-day old animal appear like it is six months old. Can anyone who eats this meat benefit from it? They give hormones to cows and they produce more milk than the farmers can distribute to market. As a result, the prices fall and producers go on strike, they pour the milk on the streets and in the meantime, we drink milk with hormones. Whereas if we left everything the way God made it, all would go well and people would have pure milk to drink. Notice how hormones make everything tasteless. Tasteless people, tasteless things, everything is tasteless. Even life itself has no taste.
What will give you peace?" "Nothing," they reply. Such vigorous young men and nothing pleases them. What has happened to us? We believe that we will correct God with our inventions. We turn night into day, so that the hens will lay eggs! And have you seen theses eggs? If God had made the moon shine like the sun, people would have gone mad. God created the night so that we may take some rest, and look at us!
We have lost our peace of mind. The hothouses, use of hormones in produce and in animals have made people impatient. In old days, we knew that we could reach a certain place on foot in a certain amount of time. Those with stronger legs would get there a bit sooner. Later, we invented carriages, then cars, aeroplanes and so on. We try constantly to discover faster and faster means of transportation. There is an areoplane which covers the distance between France and America in three hours. But when someone goes from one climate to the other with such great speed it's not good, even the sudden change of time itself can be confusing. Hurry, hurry...Gradually man will enter a projectile and with the squeeze of a trigger, this projectile will be launched only to burst open at some point and allow a madman to emerge! Where is all this taking us? We are heading straight to the madhouse!
Elder Paisios from With Pain and Love for Contemporary Man
Gardening and eating seasonally/locally are good ways to learn patience.
Still, to live that way (exclusively) would take more than patience. Avocados and citrus just don't grow where I live, and I'm grateful to be able to buy them. Pineapples were a symbol of hospitality in colonial America -- where did the 13 colonies get them from? The imperial city of Constantinople would have collapsed without imported wheat. Without the demand for commodities from somewhere else, Columbus would not have been searching for a faster route to the Indies, and the history of the Americas might have turned out differently. I suppose the importing of food from other places has gone on since the beginning of civilization, if not before.
I am thankful to God that I have been able to live in other countries that have not had the availability of food such as found in most American supermarkets. Unfortunately I am not as patient as my husband is with raising our own foods, but I don't need a lot of variety at any time of year. Reading the quotes here from the Elder are a blessing, thank you!
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