Monday, March 7, 2011


I eat really well. Now that I'm not a college or grad student and I don't have to choose between coffee and groceries. Mom and I came back from grocery shopping yesterday and stuffed our shelves with fresh fruits and vegetables, hummus, organic milk, almond milk, wild rice and onion bread from Farmer's market, greek yogurt, tempeh, pita bread, and a few other staples like Tapatio (Mexican hot sauce), canned chipotles and salsa for making soup.

I set about with delight chopping vegetables for a spicy peanut soup to go with our fresh bread for dinner. Since I've been cooking more, eating has become a source of wonder and delight. I appreciate the whole process of preparing a good meal: how much planning and work goes into it, the delicious smells along the way, the anticipation of eating, the enjoyment of the finished product. It's much more satisfying to share a meal I've prepared with someone else, and my mom is usually a grateful recipient.

On the flip side, the more I've been able to purchase such fresh, healthy food and spend the time cooking, the more I've been struck with the realization that as much as this abundance should be a given, a human right, it's not. Far from it. As I peered inside my fridge yesterday, it hit me again that my enjoyment of this food is a gift. I immediately felt guilty and a little bit ashamed that I have so much, but then I settled on gratefulness. Guilt and shame won't do anything for the situation of others, but it will ruin my sense of gratitude.

Friday night, Ricardo and I met up with a group of people from our church and some neighboring churches, to package and distribute hot meals to people in need along Aurora Ave, close to where we are. Our group went door to door at a motel, offering dinner to select guests. Interactions were brief, due in part to the cold and rainy night, but people were grateful for their meals. I got a brief, partial glimpse into the lives of these individuals, any of whom could be me, and it was hard to see. But necessary.

It's a fine line to walk, being profoundly aware of and grateful for what we have, while acknowledging that this might not always be our situation. I hope this awareness does more even than inspire gratitude. I hope it teaches me something about resourcefulness vs. wastefulness. I hope it moves in me to share my abundance with others in whatever practical and creative ways I can. I don't know the answer to why I have been given so much when so much of the world exists (and perishes) on much less. I wonder if the answer is not really the point, as much as what I do with the resources I have.

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