Big Purchases

After describing the arduous car-purchasing process I had just been through, a friend of mine congratulated me then said “I think we regret small purchases way more often than big ones.”

I don’t regret buying my computer. Or buying my second car. I do regret the $40 Carhart overalls, and the $4 cardigan. I don’t regret the $60 boots, but I wish I could go back and take that 40 pack of markers out of my cart. And the cheap art supply case from that garage sale. Trinkets, candy bars and those pieces of clothing from the thrift store that are just too cheap to pass up. “Even if I wear it once, it’ll be worth it.”

But for me, at least, those little things pile up quickly. Those button shirts are just a little too long to wear happily, but not long enough to get rid of easily. It’s the little things that take up the space. Those things that, once they’re bought, seemed to be glued in place somehow.

But the big purchases, those only happen every so often. They’re thought through. Deliberated. Looked at from lots of different angles. They’re usually tools, or extravagant gifts to ourselves, or sometimes necessities. I don’t regret the trip to New York, or the $130 off-Broadway theater tickets. But my sister probably regretted the cheap glass of wine at intermission.

I feel good about my new car, but I regret the milkshake I spilled driving it home.

Chain of Events

Last week, my car was hit on the street in the middle of the night and totaled.

Now going through the insurance process and the tedium of car-buying, I keep thinking about chains of events, and the affects of our actions.

I wonder who hit my car, and what they had been doing that night. I wonder if they were drunk or texting or crying or fighting. I wonder what they thought afterward. I wonder if their car is okay. I wonder if this chain has affected their life. I’m not trying to say this in a bitter way, grumbling angrily to myself – but just genuinely curious.

There are so many places I’ve been this week, and situations I’ve found myself in that, if not for that one moment of negligence late on a Monday night, I would never have experienced. Our actions and reactions ripple. They are links in a chain.

Pondering this more, the image of a garden grew clearer in my mind.

If each of our own little worlds is a garden, and we are the gardeners, then every time we step outside our front doors, past the gate and onto the soil, we have an opportunity. Surrounded by plants in all states of growth and variety, we have an opportunity to nurture and cultivate the garden. Or to stomp through the beds hither and dither, not watching our step, just trying to find the shade and sitting by, neglecting the sprouts and wrinkly leaves all around us. To plant good seed or ill.

Actions can be the planting of something new and words can be the misplaced stomp of a boot.

Each day, we are planting seeds and walking throughout the garden. So spread good seed and tread gently.