I had a Valentine's party to go to last night at my friend Gini's house. It was supposed to be last week but, because of the ice and snow, and general discombobulation that comes any time a winter storm passes through Texas, she rescheduled.
I was making a plate of desserts to bring and ran to the store to grab a couple of last minute items. Mostly whipping cream which, by they way, can elevate just about any dessert to rock star status in my book.
With my lone whipping cream, I got into the express lane behind a sweet elderly woman with two tomatoes. When her turn came up, she asked the checker to weigh the tomatoes individually and tell her the price of each. One was $.25 and the other was $.27. She laughed and said, "I'll take the $.25 one." Then she pulled out her Lone Star card, which is Texas' brand of food stamps and payed for her tomato. The checker rang her up, said thank you, and told her the balance on her card. It was $11.87. I know enough about Lone Star to know it will be the first of March before she gets her next allotment.
I've thought about that transaction all night. Things can get pretty tight in the Hill house and we really do try to be careful with the way we spend our money. The reality is, though, eggs sometimes get broken by helpful little hands carrying in groceries, bananas go bad, and tomatoes are sometimes hit with bats in the backyard and I don't really sweat it.
Her careful purchase of one small thing represents a whole new level of tight, doesn't it? And I know enough to know she's not the only one debating the purchase of a tomato over two cents and trying to make it these last few days before the end of the month with less than $12. There are thousands just like her in my zip code alone.
It's made me think once again about the way we spend our money. Could I do that? Could I get through the next seven days with only $11.87? Do I pick up pennies in the vaccuum and not bat an eye? Do I waste food because I've changed my mind about what sounds good for dinner?
Once again, the Lord has used a very small incident to cause me to examine my heart and my habits and perhaps to change my definition of some words I throw around about money like "tight", "careful", and "stewardship".
I'll guess He'd rather me ask Him those questions this week instead of why He didn't give me the ability to ski like Bode Miller.