Until recently I was the type of person that hid my private life. I discussed personal details about it only with family and my closest friends. I was that way for two reasons: First, my life is no one’s business and why give people a reason to gossip. Secondly, pride has had everything else to do with it. We all have pride. I know I’m not alone or the only one with pride. But I’ve grown up, and care far less now about what people would think or have to say about my life. As well, I have come to realize that I certainly am not the only person with life’s challenges. The economy has had a deep impact on many people, especially so on those of us who lost our jobs some years ago and have not been hired anywhere else since then. Life has been quite tough on me, and I have had to rough it, but I try to do so with a smile.
Last month, I walked over to a grocery store for a few items. Actually, it’s a Dollar Store that carries some pretty-good, name-brand stuff. I would have driven there, except I have no car. That commodity broke down in 2012 and I haven’t been able to afford another one, much less a newer car! It was freezing outside, and the sidewalks were covered with the kind of thick snow that hadn’t been shoveled yet, and was icy and bumpy along the long stretch. While at the store, I ended up buying more items than I had originally intended. You know how that goes: you go to the store for bread and milk, but you notice that you could use this thing and that other thing as well, and you begin filling up the cart to overflow.
Anyhow, I happen to have a nice relationship with the owners of the store so I was able to borrow one of their shopping carts with which to get my groceries home. Before now, I had never had to “rough it” in this fashion. I always owned a car, and, for the most part, most of the people that push carts on the streets usually are homeless people lugging their worldly possessions. Well, there went I; hauling the noisy shopping cart home, over the icy, bumpy sidewalks, and making no eye contact with anyone I saw along the way. I didn’t want anyone that I looked at to look at me and think, Oh, look at her, she’s homeless.
I felt mortified that my life had been reduced to that degree. My pride suffered. But, you know what? It is what it is, and I was quick to begin saying, “I am grateful that I have these groceries, and the friends who loaned me their shopping cart! I am grateful! It could be worse, Christina, but it isn’t!” And, as I counted my blessings that day, I noticed that I was roughing it, yes, but with a smile!