Last weekend I shopped for maybe an hour. There was nothing to buy.
OK, so not nothing. I just didn't care about what I saw.
That's like the folks who say there's nothing to read in The Messenger. We work pretty darned hard to see that doesn't happen, and I've yet to see an empty page roll off the presses, so I'm guessing what these folks mean is there's nothing they're interested in. Those are two different things, for sure.
Maybe I was pouting on Sunday, so nothing looked good. Usually I buy all my Christmas gifts when we're on vacation, and I didn't go anywhere on vacation so I didn't buy any gifts. That makes me unhappy, and when I'm unhappy I pout.
I like shopping on vacation, for several reasons.
First, my holiday shopping is done early.
Second, buying a gift while on vacation lets people at home know I'm thinking of them even when I'm gone and even if they don't know it until Christmas.
Third, buying gifts for others takes care of the urge to spend money.
Fourth, I like to shop in stores I've never been in before, stores that aren't anywhere in this area so it's imperative I shop while I'm vacating. I want my $20 to stand for something.
You may have guessed, I'm not a big spender. I don't even like to shop for groceries - my husband does that. I've got to break down soon, though, because I need winter clothes and shoes. I've tried shopping for me, but I hate it and within minutes I'm ready to quit. Not only am I ready to quit, my stomach is churning and I'm angry. At what, I don't know, but I know angry and I know I'm angry.
There is no peace in anger.
In last week's Reflections column, my friend Joanne Walker wrote: "Let the winds blow. Hitch yourself to God, and you will find the peace that is beyond all understanding. Try it for yourself; it is possible. Seek inner peace."
Those words made me want to be nice, to overlook the pettiness inside that makes me angry when things don't go my way.
Joanne died last Sunday, the same day that column appeared, five weeks after a diagnosis of liver, lung and lymph node cancer.
"Those are not very survivor-friendly diagnosis," she wrote in an e-mail. "I have opted not to take any treatments but let nature take its course. Fortunately, I have a very strong faith, so I am busy making my plans for going to Heaven. I am so at peace I know it can only possibly come from God."
This was a woman of faith, a woman whose life epitomized the best a person can give. She'd written the column before she heard the doctor say cancer.
The last time I saw Joanne, she and some friends wore their red hats and purple clothing on the little riverboat on the Iowa River at Iowa Falls, having a good time just being together.
That's how I'll remember her. Happiness, sunshine and Joanne Walker.
That's inspiration at its best. That's peace.
So long friends, until the next time when we're together.
Contact Sandy Mickelson at (515) 573-2141 or firstname.lastname@example.org