Life has those sudden shakes of reality that pulls you straight out of your bubble. To remind you how fragile life is, how much people mean to you, and what the spirit of living really should be about. One such moment was brought upon by the tears that seeped through revealing my frustration and my hardship.
Like many people, we suffered the unexpected car problem. We took the faithful mini van in for an oil change and to fix a flat tire, only to find the left brake was no good and the car was leaking brake fluid. Under corporate policy, the mechanic was not even allowed to release our beloved car until she was fixed, which could be a couple of days. Panicked eyes and grief stricken at the financial blow revealed my tears that seemed to make the mechanic uncomfortable. He said they would try a bolt method that may work and he could potentially have us back on the road in a few hours. So Fern and I walked around in the blustery cold awaiting the fateful decision of the poor mini van.
A few days earlier I found out my regular writing job had to cut back hours, the blog was not generating revenue to keep up with paying the writers. I suddenly related to all those Christmas movies where the main character gets laid off just before Christmas. In a frenzy I searched for jobs, but to no avail. So when the car detriment came, I was even more worried about being able to finance it. Being on my own, I might of ended up living in my car, but being with Fern we could both finance the blow to our bank accounts.
As we walked around in the cold, Fern pulled me aside to remind me what matters. We have each other, and everything else are just things. We have always been thrifty, we don’t spend in excess, so we could handle this blow and take it as it comes. The mechanic soon called and said their method worked to keep the brake in place, so we could come back for the van. The amount was two hundred dollars more than their estimation, which was more than what I had in my bank account. So we swallowed our doom and split the cost over our accounts. There is nothing more humbling than swallowing your pride, letting go of your finances, and having to rebuild.
I know I am not alone in this struggle. We all have bills to pay, unexpected financial detriments, and emergency funds that can never build because of the amount of student loans you have, or the simple cost of being human. We are all doing our best, and that is all life can really ask of us. Whether you are working long hours at multiple jobs, or have bills it seems you can barely keep up with, you are not alone. In the excess of the holiday season, those who know the poor struggle know how priceless even a homemade card can be. It reminds us that life is about being with one another, not about the gifts or the decorations. We are all struggling through life, and the Christmas season shows the goodness in humanity if we choose to be it.
If you can give, give. If you can only make homemade crafts or cookies, than do so. Do not be afraid to open up to the struggle of building your life. In the words of my dear Grandmother “being in your 20s is hard, it is a time of figuring your life out and everyone is poor”. I am grateful that Fern and I still have money to put food on the table, a warm place to live, and we have the love of one another. One cannot ask for more than that. My finances may be low, but I still am grateful for the simplicities that life still gives. Life is too short not to be grateful for the simplicity of food, the blessing of warmth, and the preciousness of love.
Love and Christmas Joy,