Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Feast of Plenty

A prompt from a couple of weeks ago, "Feast of Plenty," inspired this response from a student. We were all struck by how the container of one year showed such a dramatic difference in her life. Without being sentimental or romantic, she shows a serious reversal of thinking along with her reversal of fortune, so to speak.

When I asked her if she wanted this to be anonymous or with her name, she said: "No anonymity needed. I shout my truths loudly and unapologetically from rooftops." Excellent courage and power.

Feast of Plenty
Polly Sackett

This will be the first year that I will not write several checks to charitable giving and 503 c organizations. Goodman, Second Harvest, Common Wealth. I don't chip* anymore. This is the first year that my children and I will not go to Farm and Fleet toyland to purchase gifts for children in the Goodman Center holiday gift sponsorship program.

No, this is the year that I ask the Goodman Center if my children can be sponsored. Boy - age 7 - loves Rick Riordan books and Legos. Girl - age 5 - any little toys she can use to manipulate and play out her world.

This is the year of foodstamps. This is the year of eating out of the free box at work. This is the year of filling my van with gas only $15 at a time. 
For the past 13 thanksgivings, I have played host to 15 - 30 people, friends and family. No turkey smaller than 15 pounds. I bake at least 5 pies. But not this year. There is no feast to prepare. No tradition to uphold. People ask what I am doing tomorrow - I don't know - plans still up in the air - invites expended not yet accepted, It is irresponsible to have made these choices? Tomorrow my children won't be with their extended family or doing the usual things. Is this building resilience? Is this me helping them build resilience and freedom of choice or am I cracking their little worlds apart? Both. 

But even in this less than abundant material state, I feel abundance. I feel an abundance of freedom. There isn't filling a grocery cart anymore  - it is eat day by day. What do I need today. Trust that it will be there. Universe - I would like a periodic chart for my kids to hang on the wall. Behold, a neighbor with one stashed in her basement now coming out on loan. 

When we had a lot, I wasn't in a position to need to contribute financially. I did so in other ways: raising the children and managing the household. Now I have little, it has been work to not be fearful and instead to look into the deepest parts of me and ask what do I want to work at and what feeds my soul and provides for my kids. Fear about money, fear about enough, have been drivers.

But facing that biggest fear, death, makes the money fears laughable.

I can stare out at a lake from a lonely bedroom with plenty. I escaped the room for scraps, love and freedom. Trusting this path and feeling abundance with fear buckled in beside me.

*"I don't chip anymore" refers to this program:

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