Encouragement in the Grocery Store Line

I was just lining up to pay for a few groceries.

On my weekly run through the stores, stocking up on the deals, trying to ONLY buy the deals.

I’m at Food Basics and I see a special bin near the Express check-out.

Pre-packaged donation bags for the local Food Bank.

$4.99.

I’ve seen these at Metro as well – packaged in brown bags, so I have no idea what I’m buying for the food bank, but still I’ve put a few in my cart lately.

I’m trying to find practical ways to Live in the Plenty, to share the gift of Enough.

I have more than enough, others have less than enough – what are some realistic ways to balance it out a bit?

How do I do that in my daily life?

So the sharing isn’t just saved for special occasions or group events?

So it becomes a part of who I am, a daily habit lived out in many different ways.

Because there are many times when I’ve said no.

Just this week I can count two.

Once outside Shoppers Drug Mart – a young man asked me for spare change.  I truly didn’t have any on me, but I suspect he needed a little more from others than some random coins. I suspect he needed a whole lot of care and concern.

I said no.

And at the intersection near DQ and East Side Mario’s – a man stood there holding a sign that said he was hungry and could anyone help?

I drove on by.

With Elijah in the seat beside me.

I whispered, “Oh no… that man needs some help.”

Elijah heard me, his mind raced for a while as we drove into the green light, and he said, “Could I have given him my doughnut as we drove by? Could we have passed it out the window to him?”

I answered weakly, “Yes, maybe we could have.”

And I know I could have gone back, could have modelled compassion for my son, but…

I said no.

Maybe I’m tired of drive-by giving and throwing money at the problems.

Maybe I’m tired of doing what I’ve always done.

Maybe I want to find ways to do more.

Maybe I want to get right in there and make some sort of difference.

My husband will come home sometimes and tell me how he’s helped someone.

How he bought someone some groceries instead of handing them change. How he treated someone to lunch and shared a great conversation with them instead of reaching into his pocket for random coins. How does he do that?

He’s learning faster than I am. His extravertedness allows him to reach out so much easier than me. I am constantly running to catch up to him. He just gets it so quick. At times I lag far behind. As long as he is patient with me, as long as we both know I’m coming, that I will get there, as long as he holds out his hand to help me along, it’s all good.

Because sometimes I do the same for him. In different ways.

He knows my heart, he knows I want this, to learn this, to make this a part of who I am, to get over whatever stops me – be it pride, laziness, fear, complacency, hopelessness, or a little of all the above – to learn right down to the depths of me about loving the least of these.

Then yesterday… I found such encouragement in the grocery store line.

Standing at the checkout, staring at those donation bags for the food bank.

These ones were plastic, so I could see the contents.

I just couldn’t bring myself to buy all the processed food, so lean on nutrients, contained in the bags.

I know they are trying, they are jamming as much into these bags as they can for $4.99, and they are trying.

But I thought about all the cans at home, full of healthier options, and how I’ve been learning so much about getting these options for so little, and I realized I’d rather do that.

And I set my face forward, forgetting about the donation bin for now.

Then the man behind me starts rummaging through the bin, like he’s trying to find the perfect bag to donate.

And I am convicted.

God was asking SOMEONE in that line-up to buy one of those bags.

And I said no.

With lots of self-righteousness thrown in as well.

Thinking I could do better than these donation bags.

The man behind me said yes.

And I watched as he bought one, and I thanked God for him.

I thanked God for the reminder that there are others on the same journey.

The man was elderly, he’s been on the journey far longer than me.

Does it get easier to say yes as we get older?

I hope so, because I turn 40 soon, and there are many things I want to do differently for the upcoming last half of my life.

And then…

An elderly lady comes alongside me in line, she’s asking if I’ll move my cart so she can get by.

You see, she’s got items for the food bank donation bin.

She packaged them herself, brought them in herself, made a special effort and a special trip to lay some items down in the bin.

And God says to me… If you want to give healthier items, go ahead Anna, I’ve got people doing that as well. Nothing wrong with that idea! I put that idea into your head as well. Doesn’t matter, as long as you give. That’s what I’m looking for, hearts that want to give. I’ll take care of the rest.

And I am encouraged. So much.

We are all so different, we all do things our different ways, but as long as we’re set on Doing. Something. That’s what matters.

Big, small, wherever we’re at, whatever we’ve got.

Just. Something.

And that’s where I’ll begin…

Long journey ahead…

Got my free book called Living More With Less and I think I’ll post about it as I read it.

A few of you asked for a book review, well even after reading just a few pages, I know it is FULL of thoughts I’d like to post about.

One step at a time.

I’d love to share the journey with you.

And hopefully encourage you on your own journey.

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2 comments

  1. Thank you so much, Anna, for these thoughtful and challenging words. I’ve bought bags of food for the Food Bank before, but I’m drawn now to do more. I can choose healthier food; I’m trying to do that for me, so why wouldn’t I also do that for those who are not in the ‘plenty’? You have such a special way of moving us forward; a pleasant, Godly way; a gentler reminder that we live in the ‘plenty’.

    Like

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