Two years ago I was sitting in my car, a hand-me-down sun-baked red Toyota, in the parking lot of the supermarket right by my apartment. The last bit of a lingering headache reminded me that I had drank too much wine the night before, and as I reached into my stained apron to count the tips I had left after working the second of a double shift, I realized I had just enough to cover the phone bill and get some gas in my car to get to my two jobs the following day. I decided that the phone company would keep me connected if I paid all but twenty dollars… and planned to go into the market to get my wine or vodka or whatever for that night, and maybe some dinner.
I had recently been let go from a good job… the supervisor wouldn’t specify the reasons for this, but I knew that it was because I had been constantly late, and I had a habit of having a glass of wine or two with my lunch. In quick succession I then totaled a car that had no insurance, and my husband went out of work on medical leave.
My life had become a series of restaurant shifts, and driving back and forth to Malibu for a personal assistant job that I hoped would give me a little dignity, and more importantly a little more money, because there was never ever enough. After my twelve hour days, I hit the bars and numbed myself out, then the next day I started all over again. My husband had taken up residence on the sofa, the bed, our daughter in the care of my mother, and my relationship with them was virtually non-existent.
There I sat, broke and broken, not having seen my daughter in almost two days, stinking of Italian dressing and sticky with Dr. Pepper, virtually empty of any moral worth. Forgotten connections in my heart suddenly sparked, as I realized that though clearly I didn’t have much, I had hope, and not only was that enough, but that was everything. It was the one thing that no one could take away from me or judge, and it could double itself over and over again and propel me forward. My heart lifted as I began to envision the days ahead of security, joy and stability. And I trusted that I was capable of achieving that. I had a spring in my step as I walked into the grocery store a great deal lighter. To tap into that joy, and determination was within my reach, I only needed to lighten my load.
My life got better, slowly and with one step at a time.
This I believe… that no matter what waits for you outside the supermarket, if you have hope in your heart then you can hum along to the Jack Johnson song when you are trying to decide between butterscotch and chocolate pudding.
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