Hope in the Changes

Nothing is the same. Not even the joy of retail therapy. Too much has changed, coloring my world from a different viewpoint – leaving confusion in the “What do I do now?” question.christmas shopping cart

This week, I tried to go shopping – but failed. It is not the same. Without Deb and our usual routine, I could not muster the energy or even the purpose in a once-fun activity.

These were the months – the last of October and first of November – when we gathered our resources to find the perfect gifts for children and grandchildren.

The day always started with a hot chai, then a plan discussed. Coupons clipped and sorted – we headed for the usual stores and sought the most unique finds.

Our children artistic, creative, best of the best – we looked for the unusual at 10,000 Villages, the Yellow Barn and interesting flea markets. A cry of joy when we found that special item – a foreshadowing of Christmas morning and the fun of watching gifts unwrapped.

Then lunch – always Mexican with a heaping bowl of guacamole. Iced tea for me. A Coke for Deb. Lots of chips – always refilled. More coupon sorting. Reliving the morning’s treasures.

Online shopping has conquered much of the brick and mortar traffic. But clicking a mouse cannot compare with the experience of shopping with a friend, dickering over prices, feeling the texture of a cashmere sweater or the nub of corduroy slacks. Exclaiming together in the search-and-find excitement of a trinket, a silver necklace, shoes and ornaments.

Deb and I milked every bit of joy from our shopping excursions. The afternoon slump revived with a double scoop of ice cream or a large Root Beer float.

The loading of trunks with bags of various colors, a grateful hug at the end of the day, a cheerful “See ya’ next time” as we waved goodbye.

When the changes in life force us to recalculate, we realize what we had before. Something as simple and beautiful as the shopping experience now feels empty. I am failing at doing it alone.

But I can seek for seasonal joy in the memories, flip another page on the calendar and know grief will someday scar over. The remembrance still brings a smile, even as Christmas music promises comfort.

Within this gigantic change, joy stirs as “See ya’ next time” now means an eternal reunion. And the shine of a treasured trinket we bought together reminds me hope still lives.

©2017 RJ Thesman – All Rights Reserved

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16 thoughts on “Hope in the Changes

  1. So beautiful, especially the “See ya’ later,” line. I feel your pain as my sister and i used to do that together when i was home. My sister was a creative, master shopper. 🙂
    Thank you for this post.
    Amy

  2. Thanks, Amy. It’s interesting the little things we notice as we journey through the grief process. I’m sorry your sister is gone and you don’t have that outlet for shopping together. Hope you find a warm spot to write today !

  3. Lovely as always Rebecca. So sorry you have this grief. I can relate in a different way. I have never had anyone to shop with like you did. I always shopped alone. Now, I just don’t have anyone to shop for at all. Holidays are depressing. There are no gift exchanges or family to see because of my circumstances. Yet, as you say, there is hope. Hope in God. Thank you for your Hope series.

    • Life certainly changes us, doesn’t it? Maybe you could gift yourself with something special this holiday season. Praying for you! I’m so glad to have you as a regular follower.

  4. I also am sad that shopping with my friends is not possible anymore. I recall the fun as we pushed our friend in a wheelchair piling clothes on her lap until she could barely see over them. Then we all would push into a changing room and be very honest: that looks good on you; that looks awful; you need a different size I will get it, and other honest and loving comments. But, I do know that friends are a phone call away and that is enough for now.
    I also miss Deb. I sat in her place at our Saturday Sisters’ meeting and still feel awkward about it. She should be there, with us. No one can take her place.

  5. I immediately thanked God that he gave you these words and I was able to read them. Having just found you a few days ago that is pretty amazing. The line that grabbed my heart “When the changes in life, force us to recalculate, we realize what we had before”. A little over a year has passed since my husband died. And although, the grief is softer (last year I thought that was the most unusual term), more days than not, I think occasionally those words, ” I realize what I had before”. You made this an easier day. Thank you.

  6. I found this quotation from Maya Angelou. It may not be joyful hope, but we can have peaceful hope.
    “Peace, It does not mean to be in a place where there is no trouble, noise or hard work. It means to be in the midst of those things and still be calm in your heart.”

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