Spiritual Practice at the Food Bank

I used to be pretty set in my mind about the way life was supposed to look. I expected I would always be able to feed myself and my children. I expected I would always be able to pay my bills in full and on time. I expected I would live a life of joy with all the comforts necessary — including food. I even expected to be in a supportive marriage at this point in my life. 

Imagine the shock when reality looks different and you get to deal, instead, with what is.

I was in a position a few months ago that required me to access the local Food Bank. My paychecks didn’t stretch far enough. My outflow was greater than my inflow and it was a repetitive pattern I was desperate to break. The desperation led me to discuss this with my spiritual director. Aside from her incredible support, one thing she said was, “Have you been to the Food Bank?”

Gasp. Shock. No way. I’m not doing that…aka Resistance with a capital R. I had all kinds of excuses why I could not do that. It was a nightmarish situation. My faith was being tested. How would I respond? I was not able to see immediately how accessing the Food Bank could be good – not at all. I’ve learned, though – and continue to learn – to withhold judgment on what I see, no matter how ‘bad’ it looks from my perspective. My faith in a Higher Power, that which I call Spirit or God, affirms that all is well. This dismal situation looked less than good to me. Did that make God or Spirit WRONG? Or was it my perception that was skewed? 

The Food Bank requires that you register with identification. Proof of income/proof of worthiness to receive food was not required. As grace would have it, it was the last day that month the Food Bank was open. Spirit is my source.

Spirit provides, always, and sometimes it looks like “Food Bank”. It was a humbling slap in the face to see how very judgmental I was, how important it was to me at the time to keep hanging on to the idea that I’m somehow above all of this. I wasn’t above it. Not then and not now. I was no different than anyone else that particular afternoon or any of the following Wednesday afternoons. 

Within the cramped walls of the Food Bank, I realized I am no different than the others there. The circumstances in which each of us stands are an out-picturing of our consciousness of Spirit. When we choose to make a real change, we have the power to do so through the expansion of our consciousness. Spiritual expansion is natural. Spirit constantly looks at its experience of ‘you doing life as you’ and finds ways to tweak and mold and further express Its qualities.

Although there were many deep lessons learned through the Food Bank experience the greatest was in the realization of how crucial it is for us to use our unique, Spirit-given gifts for creative expression in this world. This realization has propelled me to make decisions that would have me being my authentic self, living life in congruence with who I am. It took a lot of courage for me to admit I needed help. I followed through, stuck with it and found a vast amount of goodness on the other side of the experience. Spirit knows.