I am all about saving.
When we had no money, I loved the challenge of saving one penny at a time and recalculating where we stood after each penny tucked away. I save coupons,recipes, stamps that were never stamped, pictures, notes sent to me, books for later reading, clothes for another season… I can apples, spaghetti sauce and green beans. I freeze peppers, pesto, tomatoes, meat that’s on sale and blueberries. My cupboards are full most of the time. And I love the feeling that comes with having provisions in the house, money in the bank and a few books on the shelf for a rainy day–safe, protected, covered.
But saving gets a little tricky when it gets in the way of life, when it interferes with what matters; when I would rather keep the money in the bank than spending it on someone in need; when the coupons, canned goods or frozen chicken go past their expiration date because I kept them for later; when I choose to not do something necessary because of the money involved, when the clothes don’t fit because gravity has happened.. when saving turned into wasting.
Wasting is foolishness–it’s wrong all the way around. Just having something, or lots of somethings doesn’t absolve me from the duty of handling what I have responsibly. And whether I am comfortable with this thought or not, I will always be bound to my fellow human beings in need. Even though I never told my children to finish their plates because of the poor homeless children starving on the other side of the world, I do think about them when I wind up having to discard strawberries because I saved them too long for a special dessert. Or when I throw good money away because I did not take the time to pay my bill on time and now have to pay a penalty. Foolish waste.
Saving for the sheer pleasure of accumulating gets empty real fast when the fire comes through and burns up all your beautiful books, or when the banks collapse, or mold does what it does. When the thief takes it all while you are on vacation. Or moths eat up the winter coats.
Saving is only good when it has a purpose behind it. And at the end of all things, savings is all about spending. We must save in order to spend. Either on ourselves or those we love.
I save to give. Money, Time, Books, Stories and yes, even Coupons.
But there is one thing that I am not saving: my life. I am spending it. Freely. Expensively.