The Good Life

Prodded Beyond My Chocolate Martinis

It was the last week of December when a co-worker came bearing delectable treats like cheesecake, cookies, and tarts.

“Our department can’t eat another bite,” she groaned. I groaned right back. “Thanks, but we’ve been pigging out too”

Which might explain why these days I’m feeling less than svelte and more like a Sumo wrestler. As I ponder these thoughts, I reach for another See’s Candy and wash it down with a Starbucks mocha.

Too much of a good thing
I’ve always been embarrassed of the aches that come from overeating. I mean really?what a decadent discomfort. That’s like complaining that your wallet is too heavy because it’s weighted down with money. My guilt was amplified recently when a guest speaker at church talked about World Vision, a Christian organization that strives to feed underprivileged children.

“To us $1.50 is nothing. We spend that much on a cup of coffee,” she said as I nursed a food hangover, the result of a colossal platter of honey-walnut prawns my friend and I had gorged on the night before. “But to some, $1.50 is a day’s wages in which they’re trying to feed a family of five.”

I calculated that in recent weeks I had spent almost $25 on mochas alone. Gulp. Then I remembered the $16 I dropped on a bottle of vodka and another $25 on chocolate liqueur so I could make chocolate martinis for friends. All quite delicious, sure, but the memory of those lip-smacking flavors soured a bit when, after church, I found myself looking at photos of children seeking sponsors.

Each packet featured the child’s bio. Countries varied, but I was drawn to the children of Colombia. My mother’s country. Some were smiling with winning dark eyes that beamed, “Pick me!” Others looked somber. All were heart-tugging.

Still, I left empty-handed.

What about meeee?
Hey, didn’t I just plunk $400 at the vet’s to treat my dog’s ear infection? And what about that clogged toilet? Plumbers ain’t cheap, you know. The Selfless Me and Selfish Me battled. Do I really need another financial obligation?

Besides, I reasoned, as a self-supporting gal, who takes care of me? And how would I know that my hard-earned money is really helping the child and not merely lining the pockets of some fat cat who slurps mochas and martinis?

Pop-ups of the conscience
With every treat I indulge in I find myself simultaneously thinking about people who must go without. These thoughts appear in my head more and more like annoying pop-up ads on the internet. It becomes difficult to continue enjoying my blessings in good conscience while ignoring the needs of those less fortunate.

I get the feeling that’s no accident.

The very fact that I can indulge in a daily Starbucks is evidence that I can afford more than I might think. I can skip my daily coffeehouse treks and brew my own java. My dog won’t die without his weekly Greenies. I can make my own lunch instead of eating out every day. Right there I’ve more than saved the monthly $26 it takes to sponsor a child. To feed a child.

Fewer mochas, more responsibility
So, yes, I have contacted World Vision, and fewer mochas for me will mean more food for a little girl from Colombia. That’s sure to give me a bigger high than any chocolate martini has ever done.

Because I may sometimes muddle though life’s financial challenges, but I always take comfort in the knowledge that a certain someone looks out for me . I think it would please Him if maybe I did the same for someone else.

Eileen Mitchell

Eileen Mitchell writes from Northern California.