Days 19 & 20

$109.68: Groceries. Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

What this will become: sweet potato and pecan tamales (done and delicious), more tamales (flavor tbd), pumpkin pie, root vegetable salad, banana smoothies, beans for days, and to be honest, that’s about as much as I have planned. I picked up a few things that I was running low on (baking soda, baking powder, corn starch), a few things I’d never used before (tapioca flour…actually I think that’s it).

I’ve been really excited about Thanksgiving all week. Visions of pumpkin pie and stuffing have danced in my head. But that’s not really what I’m thinking about now.

Today after work, a friend brought me coffee. It’s been rainy all day and the treat–the expression of their affection–meant a lot to me. It reminded me that there is sweetness in people, that our humanity and our kindness is not lost. That’s a lot to get from a Starbucks cup.

But I also know that this person’s family struggles financially. And that makes me wonder, is spending the $5 to tell me I matter to them the right call? Their words tell me I matter. Their smiles tell me I am important. Why can’t that be enough?

Of course afterwards, I went to hang out with a friend who is going through a rough time. I brought her a card already purchased) and thought about stopping by the grocery store for some nice, ethically sourced dark chocolate. Something that would comfort her. Something that would show her I care.

These events–the gift I was given and the gift I wanted to give–occurred probably within twenty minutes of each other, and it was enough to remind me that my presence, my kindness is enough. What I carry in my heart is what matters, not what I carry in my hands. So I brought the card and not the chocolate, and we ate leftovers and played games.

And yet there is a part of me, even now, that says “you could have brought the chocolate. You could have done all that–the card, the leftovers, the games–and brought the chocolate too and it would have been better.” And I wonder if that’s true. I wonder if what I did was enough to show my friend I cared.

I have to believe it is, but that doubt, that fear that it is not, makes me wonder. It makes me want to buy the chocolate just to be sure.

How much of what we buy is meant to be an expression of love? Love for others? Love for ourselves?  And this week in particular, of high gratitude and higher spending, I think these are good questions to ask.

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