It’s the halfway point in my Year of Buying Nothing (YBN). And it's time for truth-telling. I regard confession as necessary - the spiritual equivalent of washing one’s grubby hands before dinner.
Three times, I have transgressed and purchased something inedible. My sins of commission are, like many other confessed events, a mixture of the sneaky, the inadvertent and the hedonistically deliberate.
My big reveal starts with that tiny barely there sin. As an intermittent, enthusiastic cook, I favour big-batch cooking and freezing. Meal preparation is a joy, while other times, it's an enormous yawn. Among my tools in preparing for those inevitable off-days are masking tape and a permanent marker for labelling. But I forgot this aspect in my YBN preparation. When my masking tape ran out, I raided my husband’s tool kit and used painters' ‘frog’ tape as a substitute. And when my pen disappeared, I freaked, uttering words unsuitable for the pulpit or even the church parking lot. Desperate, I then snuck into the dollar store and bought a cheap marking pen. Hah, curses! Foiled again! In my furtive haste, I grabbed red, not black, and because of some evil combo of colour and chemistry, the pen failed to mark the green tape. For a month, I limped along, covering freezer containers with inadequate paper and pencil arrangements. Then one morning, while tidying tea towels in an overstuffed drawer, my old marker miraculously emerged, and I seriously prayed out my gratitude.
Now for sin number two. My daughter’s family planned a move to our area. In my joyous over-eager, motherly need to “assist” these completely capable young people, I purchased a local newspaper with real estate listings. I did this spontaneously: I was in the middle of buying mushrooms for supper and there, at the checkout, was the paper. Of course, I realized this once I was in the car. And this is where true sin occurred: I could have taken the paper back at that moment of revelation. But the devil purred in those dulcet tones, “Keep it; the kids will be so happy." Hmm, not so much. Later that day, I received a call from my daughter letting us know that they’d found the perfect place. I then guiltily turned the paper into fire-spills for the wood stove.
And the final (so far!) evil deed? I bought a Scandinavian décor book for our daughter. I discovered it at my sister’s and couldn’t coerce her to part with her copy (no, Sis, I wouldn’t have given it up either!). So I futilely searched library data bases. Then finally, for the first time since January, I logged onto that online river of temptation, Amazon.com, and ordered the book gleefully. My daughter will be caught off-guard by this gift-for-no-reason (that’s just not like me). But I envision her snuggling on the couch with that book and dreaming together of a future in which she turns her heap of bricks and wood into a life-time refuge for family, friends and wayfaring strangers.
So will I be tempted again? Certainly! But caving again? Unlikely. Confessing is hard - and ultimately useful. I know my bête noir now. The printed word and image was God’s gift to our reasoning minds, but in my YBN, there remain other modes of satisfaction.
Keep it free!
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