The paper bag gift

By Lynda Shadbolt

Jim and I have been married for 33 years, and for 33 years we’ve been visiting our local LCBO.

We do love a delicious glass of wine with our friends on a Friday evening or really any evening that we gather.

I remember when our daughter Madeline was little and we used to walk into town every Saturday with her.

One day we walked by a house two doors down from the LCBO that was for sale, and Madeline turned to us and said “you should buy this house, it’s right beside your favourite store.” We laughed.

Obviously she saw we were regulars. Bear with me now as this story diverges. It will come back to the LCBO, Lisa, Wendy, Barb and all of the staff that work there.

In the wisdom traditions it is known that each of us must take care of our inner well being and it is suggested that we do this by gladdening our minds every day.

Three specific practices are recommended and are easy to build into our lives.

The first one is to have a daily practice of gratitude. Each day acknowledging three things you are grateful for.

The second practice is to really savour the moments when you feel a sense of awe, joy, love, connection, belonging and delight. Maybe sitting with friends by the campfire, attending a concert or sporting activity, being in nature etc. When you notice you are in joy, take at least 30 seconds to savour it. Let it fill you up. It is like a sacred pause to be really present with what you are experiencing.

The third way to gladden your mind is to do small acts of kindness throughout your day. You could smile at someone, you could hold open a door or drop off a salad or a loaf to a neighbour.

The possibilities for small acts of kindness are endless. And even if the person you extend the kindness to doesn’t know that you are doing so, you know. Your heart knows and grows.

And so it is here in the article that we loop back to the LCBO. I was in the store the other day buying a bottle of wine for my weekend.

Lisa was serving me, and I just happened to mention that the LCBO brown paper bags were a thing of the past. I laughed and told her how my husband would especially miss the bags because he, we and our friends save them throughout the year and he fills them with garlic that he sells.

The brown bags have been the perfect size. Lisa looked at me and got a big smile on her face and said “Hey, Wendy knows that Jim uses them for his garlic so she put the leftover ones aside for him.

“Wait here and I will get them.” And so Lisa went and came back with a pile of bags for Jim and his garlic.

Barb, Wendy and Lisa have always been so friendly, welcoming and professional in that store. And they have always made everyone feel like they are preferred customers.

They extend kindness every day, and these paper bags were another example. Kind acts connect us, hold us together and make us feel like we matter.