This is my two week anniversary of living outside of the cash economy. Well, I haven't made it completely into a cashless world - I've had a few busking stints. Nonetheless, for the benefit of all my faithful blog readers, who span all the way from Footscray to Camberwell, I will provide an update.
A big thing I've noticed is my attitude to waste. While in the past wilted celery at the bottom of the crisper and half a pot of uneaten soup in Credo would have posed as a burden, these moments have become exciting opportunities. In my world, which has a strong focus on eating and 'table fellowship', there is food to be found everywhere! I don't know why I ever bothered to buy bread because in Credo, we throw out loaves of the stuff (nice, wholemeal slices) nearly everyday. Right now I'm munching on some apple that might have just as easily ended up in the organics bin had Gemma not rescued it. The leftover cabbage in the Level 9 fridge becomes a part of my surprise fried rice, which included eggs from my parent's chooks and peas buried deep under chunks of ice in the freezer. I've had plans to go dumpster diving but to tell the truth, so far I haven't really needed to. 'Fridge diving' is thus far proving suffice.
The other cool thing about having not much cash is that my eyes have been opened up to more of the kindness of the universe; the acts of grace; the workings of God. Or, more likely, having less money means that this kind of synchronicity has a chance to surface and operate. You can choose to ignore it, or you can choose to open your eyes and be inspired that God is helping you along. One thing I was worried about was not having wholemeal pasta and my special non-hydrogenated peanut butter - sounds silly I know, but I think they represented a fear of a reduced ability to make choices. Anyway, I went up to Emerald to hang out with my friend Chandra, and what did she have in plastic bag for me? A packet of organic wholemeal pasta and some freshly ground peanut butter! She works at a health food shop: the pasta was going to be thrown out and the peanut butter was a grinding stuff up. Coincidence? No. I felt like it was God saying, "Don't worry. I'll provide." And then there's little things like walking to the supermarket with my bag of 50 cent pieces chunking around, and having almost exactly the right amount of money for the items I needed, despite having given a couple of dollars away to some people begging. It's that stuff that keeps you going...you just have to decide to notice.
You can notice and be delighted, and then you can decide to throw yourself into the hands of the universe's kindness. The more you do that, the more you will experience her gifts. I am only a little way along this journey of faith...I have many safety nets that sit above the hands of God. Jesus says to sell all your possessions and follow him. I am starting to see how advice is wise; how possessions prevent you from following him properly, because they stop you relying on his kindness. Don't worry about what you will eat tomorrow! he says. That is what the pagans do! I clothe the wildflowers and feed the sparrows, so how much more will I look after you?
So I'm at a point where I'm thinking about my safety nets. When I get lumps of money (scholarship, stimulus package, RMIT pay, etc), what should I do with it? Should I give it away, as a step of faith? Or do I see these things as provisions in and of themselves? Both options are tempting, in their different ways.