It would be hard to miss the fact that Ash Wednesday is tomorrow. All the usual liturgical signs are in the High Street, viz. squeezy bottles of golden syrup, Jif plastic lemons and the ubiquitous Betty Crocker Shake to Make Pancake mix (how hard is it to mix flour with eggs and milk?)
Having been taken shopping by the dancer and the runners we have an ample sufficiency of pancake toppings and my mind now turns to the bit between Jif Lemon Day and Cadbury Creme Egg day 46 days later. As I mentioned in an earlier post, how to make the most of Lent has been exercising my mind and I have finally come to a decision.
I am going to stop shopping. “Ha!” I can hear you all snort from here. She is merely dressing up the need to tame the overdraft in spiritual garb. But seriously there is much more to this than indeed a desire to make incoming=outgoing.
I have forgotten the art of gracious patience. I have an overflowing library; yet rather than read the vast pile of unread books that were bought with an eager heart I have found new volumes which seem more attractive, more enlightening. Were I to knit solidly from now until Christmas I would make only a small dent in the wool stash secreted around the house, and we will gloss over the fabric waiting to be transformed into clothes, cushions and goodness knows what. I have accessories for every occasion and I am sure for some yet to be invented. My recent weight loss has opened up parts of my wardrobe uncharted for many years. I need nothing materially other than food on my table and heat for our home. Indeed even the freezer and pantry are well stocked.
I have bought because I wanted to, not because I needed to. And if I look closely I don’t know that I can put my hand on my heart and say I really wanted to. There have been occasions where I have stood in the queue knowing that I could live quite happily without the item in my hand. Yet the lure of the bargain or the turn of the heel seduced me.
The runners and dancer have allowances and are careful how they spend their money. They spend hours looking for the perfect top/pair of jeans/shoes because they know they cannot afford to make a mistake. For them the acquisition is far more joyous and follows a long period of anticipation. The item is valued and appreciated.
It is time I learned to appreciate the abundance I already have; time to become reacquainted with the possessions in my life and to acquire patience and gracious acceptance of what is a very blessed lot.
I am giving up shopping for anything other than essentials. I am not going to make a prescriptive list of what is essential, for to be honest I really don’t know, which is in itself a poor indictment of my position. However, I don’t intend to bend the rules, there is little point, for it only me who suffers if I do. I want this to be a learning exercise, yes I am sure I will save money, but that is not the primary aim. I am going cold turkey and sad as it sounds I know it will be hard but I hope I can reflect on what really makes me happy, what I really need to grow as wife, mother, friend, lover, daughter … and I am damn sure it isn’t another pair of shoes.
I am not doing this alone, Madamepm is coming with me and we have agreed to support and reflect together. I won’t say I’m not nervous but I am a little excited in a tingly sort of way.