Thursday, June 11, 2009

This Too Shall Pass

My father was known for saying, "This too shall pass" whenever I was bummed about something as a kid. If I got a rotten grade, got into an argument with a friend, got dumped--everything earned a hug, a kiss on the top of the head and a familiar motto that whatever I was experiencing was temporary and things would get better.

His motto has become my mantra in recent weeks.

This will pass, Tami.

Better times are ahead, Tami.

You have weathered worse, Tami.

The verdict is still out on when . . . and if I can stay patient until then . . .

I have been paid ONCE in almost a month. The down time I had in March is coming back now to haunt me. A family of five cannot live on $1400 for very long. It has been a lean time and I am working as hard as I possibly can to remind myself to treat this like an ADVENTURE. Learn what I can from it. Be humbled so as to appreciate the better times more instead of taking them for granted. Be patient. Remember that THIS TOO WILLLLLLLLL PASS, damn it.

So, share with me my "lessons".

We have learned to have fun without doing many of the same things we used to do. No lingering at bookstores. No trips to Goodwll. No late night trips to Denny's for a fun meal. No trips to the movie store to get the latest movie for that night's viewing.

We have learned that while some people give blood to get money, we give books. We have been to Powell's store six times to sell books . . . . often it is the money that pays for that week's groceries. At first finding the books was easy--we DO have an inordinately large supply. Now, however, we are all dipping into books we either haven't read yet or want to keep. It's starting to hurt a bit.

We have learned that the Dollar Store is a remarkable place. We had never really gone there before and now I think they may know us by name. . . We have learned that we can make an entire meal for all 5 of us for $5. Healthy? Not particularly. Filling? Not usually. But it works.

We have learned that our children are very generous spirited. Each has found a way to offer their money or time or work to help us. That is a gift in itself to us.

We have learned that banks do not care at all if you are struggling . . . and have no second thoughts about piling on additonal charges when you don't have the money to pay them in the first place.

We have learned that people simply do not mail out checks when they say they will.

We have learned that staying home at night and watching a movie together and/or reading is one of the best types of evenings you can have.

We have learned that being flat broke seems to be an invitation to the universe to send bad karma so that, naturally, our washer is making weird sounds, the tags on our bus are expired and the rear main seal on our family van is ruined and thus pretty undriveable.

We have learned that we have friends who truly love us and show up with a bowl of strawberries and a heart of gold that allowed me to buy the medications I was supposed to get, gas for the van and food for my family. (You know who you are too, darlin!)

We have learned that being broke is hard, but not impossible. It is depressing (at least for me) but it is also humbling and a reminder to appreciate what we do have. It is also a call to be creative in ways I don't think we would have thought of otherwise.

So yes, Dad, I know this too shall pass. I know that I have been hired for more work, that my assignment list is filling up more and more, that my free time is shrinking by the day. I know that better times are ahead. In the meantime, I will do my utmost best to absorb the lessons and gain from them.

But Dad . . . . . couldn't it pass just a little faster? Please?

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