Wednesday, March 10, 2010

What's In Your Cart?

There are three words that some of you, my readers, will never hear:

Attention K-Mart Shoppers!

You've never been there, never plan to. But me? I spend most of my shopping career in stores with carts. When I go to Target, in one orange buggy, I will have put my new Easter dress, a bag of Cheetos, some 3 way bulbs and a six pack of Diet Coke--- right on top of each other. Oh, yeah, and then I might need to pick up a new bra and some motor oil. Into the cart they go, plopped on top of the Cheetos. When my son, Cole, was about ten he asked me, "Mom, can we ever go shopping in a store where everything you buy doesn't go into one orange basket? Say more, my son. "Well, some of my friends' moms like go to a store that sells just shoes. In fact, mom, some stores don't even have orange carts for you to push around while you shop. You just go there only to buy clothes. There are other stores just for appliances. They are not even the same store."
Hmmmm. Stores in America are like that? Where?
I was about to tell you that I have lived my life where everything is piled into the same cart. I have pretended that I had no strict divisions that separated my life into distinct parts. As a public school teacher, I went to the homes of students, I got to know their families, their churches and their neighborhoods. My job was integrated into my real life. My family, my neighbors, my education, my friends---all are sort of piled in together in one basket. Sometimes anyway. But only at times when I'm not asked to make huge sacrifices and you know, give too much of myself. Now that I am looking at it, I may be just as divided you.
I push around one life cart when I visit Jane whose kids go to private schools; I listen to her rant on about quality education. When I am with my "religious" friends, I try harder not to cuss and am ready to impress them with my recitation of the Books of the Old Testament in order. When asked if I can burp the entire Apostles Creed, I decline. When I go to the gym, I pretend that my spandex is just de rigueur for working out. In visiting children in the projects, I hide my Merrill Lynch statement under the junk on the front seat of my car so as to appear poor--like them. Same life. Different baskets. In fact, I push around a whole bunch of different carts and don't really know what part of me is in any of them.
What I love about Taylor is that he really does live the whole of his life out of one incredibly honest basket. What he pulls from it and then adds to it, is always the same no matter what he is doing or who he is with. Even more rare, he only puts "stuff" in his cart that he needs. He has no temptation or craving to fill his basket to heal an emptiness inside of himself. There is not even one new bedspread or new Wii game, or trendy pair of jeans out there that he ever has to have. (Can we each hear ourselves saying, "I just have to buy those shoes or car or dress or purse or TV or, or, or, or, or."?) We fill our basket and carts and lives with stuff and still wonder why we are not content/fulfilled/happy.
What if we took a good look at what's in our life cart? If we have just one cart that has our name on it, what would go into it? What would you label as "Absolute Must-Haves" to make your life whole? A friend told me just yesterday, "Get rid of anything that isn't useful, joyful or beautiful."
From being around Taylor, I'll tell you what's on his cart list: Kindness, Gentleness, Honesty, Compassion, Love and humility. Taylor keeps all of his stuff in one cart. He has all he needs there. What are you keeping in yours? What would you add? It's perfectly safe to load loving kindness right smack dab on top of patience---I mean, if they happen to be on your list.
Oh yeah, keep the Cheetos.
They're a given. Useful.


  1. test to see if I can post. tried and could not get on.

  2. Ok, now that it let me get on....This may your best one yet! I feel like I have always been in the stores with the carts! My entire life. That made me laugh so hard. I also try to make others be able to be in their comfort zone. Mine has been gone so why not let someone else be their comfort zone. I dress like whoever the crowd will be and always try to appear I have nothing even if I might. Might is the truth when it comes to anything involving family and love. Money, nope. Never have and apparently never will, but still have so much more than most! I love you and keep on keeping on. I can't wait to read anything you write. You've been given a gift and it's saving others!!! love, Oby

  3. Things to "rotate" in your cart with the Cheetos: (1) "fun size" Baby Ruths or Snickers (2) Hershey's kisses (with almonds) or (3) Planter's "Fancy" whole cashews...all of these are useful, joyful and beautiful!

  4. Sooooooo about a week into my scary and surprising new role as single mother of 4,
    I heard a knock at the side door. Marianne comes walking in with two brown grocery bags...K-MART? With toilet paper and junk food in it. She said, I was thinking about your kids.....and this stuff just jumped into my cart.
    I received lots of love and help during those unsettling days. I couldn't have made it without everybody. BUT Marianne's face between those bags with the two liter cokes and sprites dangling underneath looked a lot like the Bread and Wine made Holy. And her face looked a lot like, well, Jesus. That was 25 years ago. My children NEVER forgot that visit. Taylor was leading you from waaaay back. Don't negate all he's taken from YOUR response to the world Marianne. He's watching AND listening.

  5. THANK YOU, KAREN. Isn't that the truth. Taylor's not the only one giving lessons in love and compassion and gentleness.

    You are beautiful, Marianne. Solid gold.
    I never thought I'd say this but, there's value in Cheetos.


Thank you so much for your comments. I know it's scary to put yourself out there. I really appreciate your being on this journey with me. You really are brave..