Shopping is like a scavenger hunt these days!
I cannot believe the bare shelves I find in every store I have been to in the past couple of weeks. The Coronavirus has ignited a stunning surge of shopping and hoarding. I often find myself standing and gaping at the empty shelves as I try to process how in the world life has changed so much in such a short time. I cannot help but wonder if all of these goods will be used or if much of it will go to waste as people continue to hoard food and paper goods.
In those first months after Ron was taken to prison, I really struggled to make ends meet.
My meager budget barely covered rent and utilities. I had little left over to pay for visits to the prison, calls, stamps to mail letters, paper goods, or hygiene and cleaning supplies. I used everything I had so sparingly! We could stretch a bottle of shampoo to last us almost 3 months! We were resourceful, conservative, and yes, even stingy. Our family was stingy because we had to be, not because we wanted to be. Resources were scarce and we had to prioritize our needs over our wants. Lavish amounts of shampoo, toilet paper, and soap were not in our budget. So, we scrimped, and we saved everything we could.
I remember being so excited to find fruit and fresh vegetables on sale!
I loved opening my fridge and seeing fresh food. Seeing it there was refreshing and reassuring since I could not always afford fresh food. When my sons would open the fridge, I would caution them to make it last. “Just share one orange.” I would tell them. We would peel the orange and savor every slice as we shared it. I wanted the food to last a long time. As the days went by, the fresh fruit and vegetables began to wither and eventually rot in my fridge. I ended up throwing half of it away because I didn’t want to open my fridge and not see it there. It went to waste because of my excessive frugalness.
I wish I could say that this only happened once, but unfortunately, it happened over and over again. I finally had to face the truth – I was letting my fear cloud good sense. Fear moved me to make bad decisions that cost me more money and frustration. I had to get ahold of myself so I could stop hoarding and wasting. It was a hard day when I had to face that fact. I began only buying what I knew we could eat or freeze within a week. I also began to let my boys have a whole orange to themselves! It took a lot of self-talk to ease the fear of going without, but I was able to overcome it. I was free!
As I look around today, I see that same fear on so many faces.
People are trying to quiet their fears by buying way more than they need. It isn’t working. Fear still grips their hearts. Stuff is not going to resolve the public health crisis we are in. Stuff won’t ease the stress of isolation or the financial troubles facing our nation. A sound mind, love, communities coming together and helping each other is what will get us through. Of course, we need to be wise. Wisdom will tell us that we must take care of ourselves and our families, fear tells us that we must hoard everything. Stop letting fear drive you. Instead, let wisdom lead you.
Don’t let it go to waste.
Share your resources when you can. Take care of your family, your neighbors, and your community by connecting virtually and walking this out together. Stay well. Wash your hands. And Stay home as much as you can until the pandemic is over. Remember, we are all in this together.
I am rooting for you!