We had friends over yesterday so I ran to the grocery store after church to pick up a couple of shared favorite snacks. But I didn’t have my weekly list done – so I need to go back to the grocery store today. And if we’re running low on ground beef or chicken, I’ll have to run to a different store tomorrow that has a Tuesday special on the free-range meat that I prefer. That’s a lot of grocery shopping.
I used to laugh at my dad, who I swear spent more on gas than he saved running from one grocery store to another for the sales. But I’m starting to look like him.
For the longest time I used to grumble and gripe when I had to go to the grocery store. It always seemed to be at the time I was most comfortable on the couch or most involved with something far more entertaining. It helps that I love to cook, but still….
Then I became a mom – and grocery stores became a fun outing. At first my son came with me. I admit I was very lucky – he was never one of those children who wanted everything at the store. Maybe it was because I involved him with getting the things on the list even before he could read the list. I tried to make every trip a fun adventure. Maybe it was because he never got the things he did reach out and ask/cry for. He’s a fairly practical kid – he learned to accept that no mean no. And he might have learned I’m a pushover. If he mentions something once and we can afford it and he doesn’t drive me crazy over it, sometimes it ends up in the cart at the end of the trip.
But I’ll admit that when I really started to appreciate grocery shopping was when my child went to school and I could finally go all by myself again. The grocery store has become my guilty pleasure – a place where I can be alone with one of the things I love most in the world – food!
Which, of course, begs the question whether Dad’s many trips per week to the grocery store were really all about saving money!
The fact is that whether I’m in the mood to go to the grocery store or not, I have a lot of reason to be grateful when I’m there. While we can’t go crazy and indulge every whim every week, our family generally has money to go far beyond what is absolutely necessary for our sustenance. In a world full of starvation, that alone is worthy of great thanksgiving.
In fact we bought next to nothing the week before the hurricane, because I didn’t feel like braving the crowds and thought we might evacuate. And yet I managed to put together delicious, healthy meals for almost a week before the stores opened again. Given all the food that is lost in freezers during those power outages, we must not be alone in our bounty.
Last year, when Hurricane Matthew thawed many peoples’ frozen reserves, there were “potlucks” all over town, including my husband’s church. Everyone had plenty to share when it was no longer possible to store it up. I can’t help but be reminded of Jesus’ parable about the man who built extra barns to hold all his excess and then died before he could use any of it.
So as comfortable as it may be here in my writing chair, I’m about to go gratefully out into the grocery store. I wonder who would come if I threw a potluck this week?
Can you think of a chore you dread each day or each week that could become a time of grateful prayer for you instead? What are all the other reasons I/we might be thankful when we’re at the grocery store? Every week I compost some produce that I buy but just cannot finish before it goes bad. Are you able to shop so that you have enough, but not too much? Is that true with things other than food? Who might you enjoy sharing a potluck meal with this week?
Do you wish you had more gratitude in your life? Openings: Let the Spirit In can help you with one-on-one spiritual direction and coaching or with a group retreat with the people you love – maybe we can even make your retreat a potluck! Contact me to find out more about a free consultation.