“It’s kind of funny,” I said to my coworker. “When I first started grad school, I came home with bags busting of great stuff from Whole Foods, right off my high as a working woman. And then it wasn’t long before I learned how to put in a quarter to use a cart at Aldi’s.”
I sort of laughed it off like a funny little anecdote. But, no, really…I watched in horror as my bank account depleted in sprinting speed faster than the track star’s record mile.
Fast forward maybe three hours later: I open my mailbox, and inside the world’s most magical card that reads, The heavens are full of stars just waiting for your wishes, a Whole Foods gift card falls out. Sometimes it’s tough to make me actually cry, but this made me want to weep.
My beautiful friend who sent me this gift card has been spoiling me throughout my grad school adventure. She told me over summer break that she just couldn’t stand that she’s home filling up on great food, while I’m off trying to study in between hyperventilating at the idea of rolling pennies and the even more brilliant idea of just rolling my car down the street to save me from the hassle of googling how to siphon gas out of my wealthy neighbor’s car. So she’s done this magical gifting from the very beginning. And it has always showed up at the perfect millisecond.
Me and my hefty gift card swaggered our way to Whole Foods — and I shopped like a queen.
Now, let’s be clear, I tripped over my feet 18 times. I wandered up and down the aisles, totally lost, to the point where at least three people asked me if I needed help. Nope, I’ve got this. In the center of the store, regulars threw back glasses of Chardonnay in a funnel cloud of laughter and chatter during the weekly happy hour. Apparently drinking in grocery stores is a thing in Texas. Who knew?
The point is this: I felt like I didn’t belong.
I felt like I didn’t deserve to pet fresh organic fruits and vegetables in such a trance of puppy love, practically panting over bright colors that had dulled in my donated cans of tuna.
In fact, I don’t deserve any of this entire experience of uprooting and moving across the country to chase some dreams I once whispered to the constellations. I quit my job and threw up some prayers, wanting deeply to believe that someone or something would catch me when I fell. And yet, kind of, secretly, waiting and expecting to feel every bone break in the bloody crash.
I’ve felt a few bone breaking and dream crushing moments.
But mostly, I’ve felt the joy of soaring.
I’ve learned that love comes in many packages, from blueberry muffin Quest Bars to sunflower bouquets to deposits with instructions to go pamper myself with a manicure. Today, I’m sipping on my peach-pear La Croix that I bought as that queen at Whole Foods. And I’m in complete awe that today’s agenda included time to write this little story. Today’s agenda included coffee with a new friend who is discovering the beauty of writing, and she asked me about my dreams and I whispered in a barely audible squeak, “I want to write books.”
The truth is, I want to write to give people like me words that leap off the page to hug them tightly and whisper, You deserve to shop like a queen. You deserve fresh and organic and triple digit price tags. You deserve all the bright colors this world has to offer.
It turns out, we don’t have to keep working so hard to try to earn lavish promotions or a ticket to the stars. We don’t deserve any gift, and yet, we humbly accept this love planted in us, growing wildly like the organic produce multiplying in the soil, and dancing off the Whole Foods shelves in a celebration that will save you.
With empty bank accounts and full hearts, we give thanks for the busting bags of organic beauty.
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