I love grocery shopping, wondering the aisle, imagining up recipes, flavors and the process of creating food. I love having a freshly stocked fridge, of putting together a game plan for meals for the coming week and attempting to try new things with food.
Sometimes I go really cheep, the basics and try to get creative with what I have, others week I buy something out of the norm, like shrimp or something new that I’ve never used before. There is so much simple joy in grocery shopping and having the appreciation for food and ability to purchase and create freely with it.
Today, after a good 1/2 hr of wondering, with my mind running through these very thoughts I pushed my cart out the door beside of woman with a sign. “I am trying to feed my children, anything helps”.
It is so easy to read, avoid eye contact and move on. I paused and searched for some cash, yes I had some left over from yesterday. She thanked me repeatably as I added a few coins to the ones already in her hand.
As I packed my own groceries and headed home, I couldn’t get her out of my mind. What would it be like to literally not be able to buy food to feed my children. I wish I had asked her how many children she had. I wish I knew her name. As I drove further and further from the grocery store and closer to home my mind continued to reel.
Why had I simply offered the little bit of change I had instead of asking her what it was she wanted to feed her children for dinner and breakfast? Why hadn’t I offered her a cart, wondered the aisles asking her what she likes to cook, her favorite food, her children’s favorite food. Why had I missed out on this opportunity to share in a simple enjoyable task as grocery shopping. I would have been able to provide so much more, not just financially (although I could have offered more in making a purchase with my debit card) but in sharing the ability to choose food, to dream and to create.
I knew nothing about this women, and many people in my life upon hearing my previously stated thoughts would caution me that she probably doesn’t have children and simply is panning for money for drugs or for some guy who set her up to it, to which I respond. You know as little as I do about this woman, and neither of us have the right to read into or judge her situation.
All I know is that if I truly love her, my neighbor in the same way I love myself, I would take her to wonder the aisles, to dream up recipes, create meal plans and fill her fridge.