I wholeheartedly believe in a Greater Power and have a pulsing respect for The Masters, the founders of our world’s religions. It’s just really hard to cram all my beliefs into one labeled pot. I think The Masters all taught the primary need for truth and an all-encompassing sense of love. Yeah, I think it that simple. The problem is that we – as a species - tend to distort and complicate. We can be very slow to come around and live in the spirit of truth and love. Ugh, that’s why The Masters came to us, right? We were in need of their messages and we still are.
But we're not here to talk religion. Just prefacing the following to let you know where I stand. Life is a journey seeking truth and love where balance is critical. My life is hardly a vision of balance. I’m trying though. Life is clumsy as am I. I’ve been racing back and forth to the opposite sides of that seesaw of life and keep forgetting to just stop and chill in the middle.
Despite that, I do have personal secret to share so please come close. Okay. I do believe I’ve found balance in one, tiny place. Shopping. Yup. Shopping, also known as foraging, getting the necessary items for my family to live. This balance has added great insight to my life. Now, you’re probably thinking, “How completely shallow and American of you to say that you feel closer to The Source when you shop.” It does sound entirely American and very shallow, but it's not.It’s not really the shopping that lends transcendence; it’s the place, the thrift store. Given the choice would Jesus shop Gucci or Salvation Army? Would Buddha run to Armani or Goodwill?If The Masters were alive today, I know they’d be thrift store junkies like me.
When I thrift, I’m part of a healthy, economic cycle of product take and donate where the profits go to repurpose severely damaged lives. This balance has me hooked on an unrelenting hunch. Are there thrifting spirits, angels, fairies? I can’t stop wondering because weird things keep happening.
Like fishing with my grandfather, thrifting has taught me patience. Thrift stores are not held accountable by corporations to have certain items on demand so they're not the best places to hit when in a pinch. One trick is to avoid pinches and be prepared. Pinches happen, and I’ve been in several where I blindly turned to the thrift store. Thrift stores have yet to let me down. It could be coincidence, or perfect timing. Or, it could be that I’m being rewarded for achieving balance in one small aspect of my life.
Last May, I held a large, semi-formal baby shower for a treasured friend. On the day of the shower, I discovered I’d forgotten or miscounted some items: salt and pepper shakers, silver-plate spoons, and two teacups. So, several hours before the shower, I turned to the neighborhood thrift store. Everything I needed was at the thrift store: six sets of small square salt and pepper shakers in a plastic bag, a set of six silver plate spoons and several generic white teacups with a gold rim that blended nicely in with my china. Not only did the spirits deliver the needs of the day, but also the birthday gift purchase I’d put on hold for my daughter’s friend the next day. That was a brand new, still-in-the-box Kit Cat Clock, a purr-fect gift for the super girl who rescues alley cats. I think the total purchase was under $10. The thrift store didn’t take advantage of my immediate needs and gouge me.
Last October, our dear friend Sam came to my youngest daughter’s schoolroom to tell Dia De Los Muertos stories. He visits the children on holidays and occasions and hooks them with his storytelling. The day before I was doing a routine thrifting sweep. As my eyes scanned the book titles in the stacks, I muttered how I wished I could find a thank you gift for Sam. (I’d just learned his family has high reverence for Southwestern customs.) At that very moment, something lifted my chin and high atop the shelf was an original folk art papier-mâché skeleton statuette for $2, a Dia De Los Muertos custom. Spooky.
I’d been very fortunate to receive an invitation to the celebration of 90 years of Goodwill in Denver, held at the Governor’s Mansion. Unfortunately, the invite came one day before the event. I didn’t have the apropos thrifted dress for this occasion and turned to my place of shopping salvation, the neighborhood thrift. In the car I found myself, praying, “Please, please send me a dress. Please!" Me praying? This is new. The third dress on the rack was mine for $8.99, a crocheted, long black dress with a black slip that fit Shopping Golightly perfectly in every way: size, style, price, and completely in line with the occasion.
Months back, I was joking with the other thrifty chicks that we needed a patron saint of thrift. Not long ago, Joan of ARC appeared on our list of blog Followers.
The weird things keep happening. I keep wondering.