Fragrance of Frugality

Ahhh, the amazing aroma this candle has, even though it’s never been lit. If it were to be, the entire room would be filled with fragrance and a radiant glow of light. But I don’t dare light it because I want it to last forever! Once lit it will gradually burn out and I don’t want that.

My grandmother lived through the great depression on her family farm in Kansas and as a result she was quite frugal. Yes, she would on occasion wipe down a used piece of aluminum foil and fold it up to be used again. She found clever ways to use leftovers of all sorts rather than to waste them. She mended items of clothing instead of replacing them and those beyond repair were cut up and made into quilts to keep the family warm. Her only daughter being raised with this rationale grew into a woman who tended toward the opposite. All that frugality made her feel deprived around the edges. Having grown up under the influence of both of these women I’ve become a blend of each of their mindsets. I credit Grandma’s frugalista tendencies for my not wanting to light this candle—even though I know it could be replaced in a few clicks on Amazon.

There’s an underlying emotional layer to this also. When you’ve lost something near and dear to you such as a faithful pet, a job that you loved, or an important relationship, you’re going to be shaped by it. You’re going to react in one of a myriad of ways. I’ve known some who’ve lost a pet or a spouse who replace them immediately to fill the void in their heart, hastening to move on to new feelings and new experiences that help to bury the loss of the previous ones. I, on the other hand, I am not quick to replace people or pets or things, apparently including a favorite candle.

Thus far I’ve denied this candle of its primary purpose to burn and to give light. And why? Because I’ve wanted to preserve its sweet fragrance. I don’t want to use it up. I don’t want to lose it.

Occasionally I recognize this tendency and reach for a match . . . I’m working on it.

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