#MondayBlogs: Abundance: Trust vs. Hoarding

I have a pantry in my basement. This is an old photo, taken when all the kids still lived here full-time and we went through several boxes of cereal each week. My pantry is less crowded now, because there are only three of us here full-time. I still haven’t quite gotten the hang of shopping for only three (or four, when my daughter’s home from college). This means that I wind up buying too much, and some of it gets wasted because it goes bad before I can use it.

But I feel the need to keep that pantry (and my upright freezer) full.

Copyright 2017 Barb Szyszkiewicz. All rights reserved.

There’s this threshold in my mind — this imaginary line I must not cross. I was down to less than a quart of milk on Wednesday, and I knew I wouldn’t get to the store before Friday. Never mind that I live 1/4 mile from the nearest gallon of milk; I was expending a lot of mental energy over the lack of “enough” milk in my house. It’s not like anyone around here (except me) even regularly uses milk. But that milk level was below my threshold of comfort, and it bothered me until Saturday morning when I finally made it to the store. We still had some milk in the jug. We had not run out. And as I said already, my neighborhood is not food-insecure.

Thinking about this gets me a little anxious — even now that I have almost a full gallon of milk in the fridge.

Where do I draw the line between having too much stuff that I “might need someday” and having enough to use for what I need right now, as well as something to share?

Can any of you by worrying add a moment to your life-span? If even the smallest things are beyond your control, why are you anxious about the rest? (Luke 12: 25-26)

I’ve run into this issue before with medical supplies, but that’s different. VERY different. Medical supplies are non-negotiable, and I do need to be very aware of what we have, what we need, and whether there is enough.

As for the other things, how do I stop feeling that I must fill that available pantry space and instead be grateful for what is there? How do I dial back my threshold of “enough” when there is obviously plenty there? How do I trust enough to share from that abundance?

Because I really want to stop the worrying that kicks in when there’s only a quart of milk in the house.

Copyright 2017 Barb Szyszkiewicz. All rights reserved.

Copyright 2017 Barb Szyszkiewicz

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“Restore My Sight”

Today’s Gospel (Luke 18: 35-43) always reminds me how dependent I am on the sense of sight. I am a very visual person. When someone in the house has lost something, they’ll ask me; I mentally scan the rooms of the house and can usually tell them exactly where to find that missing thing. I’m a voracious reader. I’m a musician. And I’m an editor, so I’m looking at words (and punctuation) all day.

Loss of vision is something I secretly fear. My grandmother suffered for several years with macular degeneration. She loved to read. Every Sunday she spent hours working on the New York Times crossword puzzle while her Sunday-dinner chicken roasted. Each day she prayed her way through a thick packet of prayer cards as she sat at the kitchen table. When she lost her sight, she was no longer able to do any of those things. I spent hours typing the prayers from those cards on my computer, setting them in a large font and printing pages to insert in a binder. That helped for a little while, but eventually she was unable to read at all.

"Restore My Sight" by Barb Szyszkiewicz, OFS (Franciscanmom.com)
Via Pixabay (2016), CC0 Public Domain

Soon after my grandmother died in 2002, one of the Secular Franciscans began to lose her sight to the same disease. I remember Jean attending each fraternity meeting, chiming in when it was time to state our prayer requests with the same words each time: “For good vision.”

Jean didn’t regain her ability to read the small print on prayer cards, but the wisdom she’d share at our meetings as we learned about living our Secular Franciscan vocation proved that she hadn’t lost all vision. Stripped of her ability to watch TV and read, Jean had keen insight about what really mattered.

Do I focus on what’s most important? Or do I let the things I see around me cloud my vision?