Thank you to everyone who has sponsored my Live Below The Line initiative during these first few days. Day one yielded over £240 in donations toward poverty. Friends, supporters and subscribers to this blog ~ it is not too late. Please donate here.
Lessons in resourcefulness and creativity were learned yesterday during day 2 of the £1 per day challenge.
It is incredible how the human spirit kicks into a mode of determination when faced with hardship ~ how passion for progress and betterment of one’s circumstance can be kindled as life heats up.
Our lives are often so comfortable that when we are placed in even the most basic of trials, challenges or changes to our routines, we shut down, turn to panic or even worse ~ hopelessness. Back near our seasonal home in Pakistan, my wife and I have many friends who live very humbly and struggle for basic necessities ~ flour, lentils, sugar, oil. One thing that is most astonishing about them is the resourcefulness they have acquired through their struggles. The same can be said of friends I had growing up here in Canada, who’s families lived on very limited grocery budgets.
During my early twenties, a dear friend of mine enlightened me to the importance of frugality and the beauty that can be found in using creative, faith inspired wonder to seek out sustenance and joy from the world ~ even when hardship beats on the door. Her mother (a gem of a woman, who to this day, is a powering inspiration to me) would gather up russets, growing wild in a field and hand churn them into the most delectable pink apple sauce, during a time when store bought jam was just not an option. I remembered that tasty desert, made with love and prayer, when I recently saw a neighbour’s apple tree down the street from where I live now, the lawn below it full of last autumn’s rotting apples. One person so easily wastes while another so passionately perseveres.
A strong spirit of faith in greater purpose, an understanding of one’s potential to learn and grow, then the confidence to combine the two with patience and dignity create a nourishing recipe for strength of character.
Yesterday my passion to remain creative and determined was set aflame as I sat for my repeat lunch of boiled pasta, a glass of water and one clementine. The light meal would provide me with hydration, carbs, energy (sugar) and vitamins, but the artist in me ~ the human spirit in me, and the lover of beauty in me ~ would not settle.
Spying some remnants of thyme from last year’s garden, still decoratively hanging above the sink where I had hung them to dry so long ago, I added a spoon full of leaves to my pasta dish with a few boiled carrots and the result was fragrant, colourful and tasty. (Food grown in one’s own garden is permissible to eat as part of the Live Below The Line Challenge, provided its cost is factored into the budget. My thyme, thankfully, had no cost for planting or harvesting.)
Upon my plant-stand I also pondered over an aloe vera plant, passed down to me from my grandmother. It’s thirty year old arms have twisted their way toward the sun in our family room for years, used only for minor burns we may occasionally suffer through negligence from time to time. But a recent conversation with a friend of mine about the benefits of aloe taken internally to alleviate stomach acid got me excited. Cutting off a sprig, I squeezed its cool gel into my cold water, stirred and had a lovely, refreshing drink alongside my pasta meal.
Creativity is powerful.
For those who struggle in life it can be a saving grace ~ providing hope, endurance, renewed faith and determination to keep moving forward.
Fort those of us who have few struggles with acquiring our basic needs, exercising creative thinking to foster independence, self-reliance and heightened observation of our surroundings may have the power to keep us from feeling lost when hardships do inevitably show up unexpectedly.