Grace & Groceries 5: Walk in the woods & the wisdom of fresh starts

Walk in the northern woods THIS WEEK, our guest writer is Lynne Meredith Schreiber, a community innovator
whose stories describe a feeding program that may interest you wherever
you live. (Read: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5.)

By Lynne Meredith Schreiber

This week, as my articles have appeared in, I have been in northern Michigan. My family takes a trip every summer to three little cottages with views of Lake Michigan and every year we spend a week ahead of time collecting items and making lists, planning meals and itineraries, so that when we finally arrive for our “getaway,” we are too high-strung to really sink into the fresh air, the sway of the trees, the serenity of the lapping water.
    This year has been different.
    Because times have been so difficult, perhaps we have noticed the need for this reprieve even moreso. And I’ve been thinking about Grace Groceries and Mitzvah Meals and the thousands upon thousands of people that Hiller’s Markets and Jim Hiller help in many big and small ways.
    Now more than ever, even those of us who are fortunate are finding ourselves in awe, perhaps, and certainly grateful for everyday things. I’m grateful that my parents take my siblings and our children on these retreats! But I’m also thankful—like millions of Americans—simply for money to pay my grocery bills.
     For flowing water and a warm or cool house, whatever the season calls for.
    For even having a house!
    And in this light, in the changing times that are changing our very notions of life-as-we-know-it, programs like those spearheaded by Hiller’s are that much more valuable.
    In September, I finally will launch the entrepreneurship classes at Hiller’s that I’ve been wanting to offer. We will hold little dialogues in the corner of a store or two, and invite whomever from the general public wants to be there. It will be mostly a conversation, with a few tips and a few shoulder-leans, and Jim Hiller will finish it up with his own astute assessment and advice. It will not be the most significant project ever undertaken but it will be special and unique and very much needed.
    If we are to be bound by the definitions we assign to ourselves or which others put on us (dare I say, burden us with?), we are caged in a small little cave-like notion of what we can do.
    A grocery offering classes on starting over, on reinventing and innovating? What a strange idea! But who says it can’t be? So many times we are given second, third, fourth chances and that’s what we must rely on these days in order to continue hanging on.
    Personally, I’ve found utter freedom in the invitation to reinvent myself. I’ve opted for several second chances—spiritually, economically, emotionally, and otherwise—and I am all the better for it.
    So I am hopeful now, if this week in the northern woods has taught me anything. Hopeful, eager, grateful.     And I also know that where we are is where we are exactly supposed to be.

    If only we can stop fighting it for a minute to see the light.

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