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Tuesday, April 12, 2011

How Folding Grocery Bags Changed My Life

I was cooking dinner tonight and the thought came to me that human beings are indeed more connected than we admit, beams of energy that come from one source but get distracted by the compartmentalizing effects of mortal bodies.

As I was pricking yams, I thought about Megan who gave me the simplest no-fail recipe for baking sweet potatoes. That led me to remembering Sheree's tip for mixing natural peanut butter so I wouldn't have to blend the cream and the oil together every time I wanted a sandwich. I remembered being convinced of my desire to raise chickens when Aubrey gave me an egg from one of her chickens. The flavor changed my paradigm about eggs.

A flash flood of contributors to the book of my life washed through my mind:
  • Carrie and Melissa who influenced how I shop,
  • Amy who gave me the tools to release pain,
  • my dad who introduced me to millionaire minds,
  • Diane who opened the gate to organized personal finance,
  • Lindsey who served as a mirror to myself,
  • my mom who inspired in me the quest for forgiving,
  • Lisa who reminded me to keep dreaming,
  • Polly who exemplified service as fun and timeless,
  • Casey who showed me to love first, ask questions later,
  • Judy who demonstrated faith in a lone young woman,
... and the list goes on.

My entire existence has been shaped by every single person who walked onto my path (or did I walk onto theirs?),  some for a brief moment, others lingered longer. The length of our time together is irrelevant. I became and will continue evolving as a weaving of many lives, who I am sure are also a blend of yet other lives. Though we suffer temporary amnesia, we are still one energy, showing up in my biggest decisions but also in my everyday routines of cooking, keeping house, writing, and thinking. When confronted, each person would likely protest their significance, glossing over their inherent value and oftentimes unconscious contributions.

Every so often, I will remember a particular woman whose name I do not recall. I am not sure I ever heard it. I met her in her home after being dragged there for an event I had no desire to attend. The old house was cluttered with bags and large plastic storage containers, so full leaving only narrow pathways to get from one room to another. I felt clustrophobic and wanted to go home. As the only other female in the house, she initiated conversation with me; I was polite but uninterested. I had decided I was better than her and there was nothing I could learn from someone whose life was so obviously out of control.

And then, I saw her folding grocery bags.

Back home, all of my leftover grocery bags took up room under my kitchen sink, constantly falling out onto the floor every time I opened the cabinet.

"How do you do that?" I asked, suddenly interested. She smiled and taught me where to fold, where to roll, and where to tie the plastic so as to make each bag into a neat little package. She was so kind and patient. I learned then that everyone has something of value to offer. Sometimes, the offerings are intentional, but most often, the contributions are made, seemingly, by mere coincidence and with little consequence, but always, they create a wrinkle in the place where memories are held.

Today, I fold my grocery bags and suspend judgment like I do because of a woman whose name I will not remember. Twelve years ago, I spent with her only an hour, but she left an imprint in my existence for the eternities.

Just as you have.


Bennet said...

I love this post. I too often think of those who have touched my life. I hope you know you are one of those people.

Kristen said...

They're so cute all folded up like that. Lucky.

Lyns said...

Is it weird that my initial reaction to this post was to "like" it?

Kristen said...

I've thought about this post a lot since yesterday. It reminds me of the hymn "Each Life that Touches Ours for Good." I love that song, and it wasn't meant to be just for funerals. I've had a happy, peaceful day with that song in my head. Thanks. =o)

sharibug said...

This post is so true about life. Each person that touches our life has something to offer if we but will listen and watch. No matter their station in life. None of us are above one or another. Each of us as children of our Heavenly Father can be humbled by the offerings of another in the most uncommon way. It leaves an imprint on our lives that can last an eternity and then gets passed down to our offspring and to others that we have the opportunity to do the same to. It is the gift of self giving to another. :>) I love this Adhis. Thank you for the gentle reminder.

Janet said...

I love this.

Sheree said...

Thanks Adhis! I was just thinking the other day that we ought to get together. I miss talking to you!

Kat said...

This was such a good post. Exactly something that I needed to hear. It is so true. :) Thank you!

Nathalie Smith said...

how funny, mom folds her bags, into a neat little triangle, did you ever notice that? anyways, great read. Thanks for the lesson reminder.