I shopped for our church’s pantry food drive last week. Laurel and I picked up two paper grocery sacks with a list stapled to it. On some of the items (potato flakes, syrup, bar soap) I included the minimum. On other Items (canned tuna, canned vegetables, soup-not creamed) I bought extra. While I shopped I put pantry goods in the front of the cart and things for our use toward the back. Hopefully for the right reasons (Jesus said to) I felt pleased with helping families suffering hard times.
With the pantry list and our personal list completed I searched for the shortest check-out line. I would pay twice to keep a record. An ineffable sense of sadness, that I am still having trouble understanding, came over me as I looked at and compared the pantry items with what would stay in my kitchen.
Cans and boxes of really nice food would wait in my trunk to be taken to the chancel Sunday. The trunk would be disaster for what we would keep for ourselves. Among other things, fresh artichokes and asparagus were on the belt to be scanned. Do the poor get to know how awesome these can be? I’m guessing not.
Really nice canned and boxed food is perfect when the cupboard is bare. But I’ve become accustomed to a culinary “abundant life”. Most of our kitchen waste goes to compost, not landfill or recycling. Since I’m not giving up fresh vegetables until they pry them out of my garden-gloved fingers, I need to ponder how to make God’s gifts available to those whose circumstances make it impossible or hard.
Even with a sore knee I am called to crawl around in my vegetable beds to individually plant leeks and eradicate the yellow wood sorrel (What was God thinking?). Yet I am simultaneously called to share. I need the community of faith to help me with this one. Any ideas? Know that I’m thinking and praying hard on this one.