Remember this scene in the movie Erin Brockovich? It’s a beautiful sunny day, and children are gaily splashing in the pool in the background. Julia Roberts, playing the title role, has just explained to the mother suffering from cancer that the water is tainted with toxic, cancer-causing chemicals from the local plant.
I first watched the movie as a single person, and I could feel the palpable terror in the mother’s heart as she digested the information…she suddenly screams at her children to get out of the pool immediately and nearly has a breakdown. Nothing had changed about her world except the information she had just been given. The water had always been harmful, even though it looked crystal clear and good for drinking. This mother can do nothing about the water her children had played in for the past hour, nor about the water they’d consumed in all their years in that home.
When I watched the movie after becoming a mother, this scene became wholly terrifying in the depths of my soul. My mouth went dry, my heart palpitated, my hands were chilled, and I emphasized with that mother to the nth degree.
It’s easy for me to become a bit overwhelmed when confronted with a wealth of new information about hazards in our world. This scene depicts exactly how I felt as I gazed around my house when I first started reading about the traditional foods movement and eco-friendly living (and still do sometimes).
What toxins are in my water? What pesticides might be on that lettuce? If I push the “start” button on my microwave, how does it affect my food? My children’s brains? It takes all my willpower not to run outside screaming, “Get out of the pool, NOW!!!!”
If I did that in my situation, we’d have nothing to eat, so it wouldn’t be very practical. You can’t just “get out of the pool” of the world of food: purchasing, preparation and storage. You can’t just quit taking showers and drinking the water.
When confronted with conflicting information, there’s nothing to do but make a choice, even when all you want to do is…nothing. Ignorance isn’t bliss, unfortunately, and once you have the knowledge you can only pray and do what you can. I find myself praying in front of the apples sometimes. “Lord, should I get the local apples a’la pesticides or the organic apples from across the country a’la transportation pollution?”
I’ve learned to trust Him to give the best to my family, even when I don’t know for certain what “the best” is at any given moment.
Do you ever feel like crying, “Get out of the pool!”?
Copyright 2010 Katie Kimball