My husband came home yesterday with the news that a local Ford dealership, a family-owned-and-operated place that has been open for probably thirty years or so -- has gone into bankruptcy. It's so bad that family members' homes have been put on the market.
It's impossible to hear news like this and not have a chill of fear run through me, centering itself right in the back of my neck, where it sometimes feels like my third vertebrae is being gripped by a really big set of pliers. Pliers that have been left out in the snow.
Last year, early on, I wrote a long piece titled Reality Cheque about our financial situation and our decision to homeschool the girls despite the hardships we go through. At the time I wrote it, I was buoyed up by a fierce resolve to soldier on despite the many looming obstacles -- or, in reality, the one looming obstacle, which is and has been for the past eight years or so, money and the lack thereof.
But somewhere along the line last winter/early spring, I lost that fierceness. Oh, we definitely continued homeschooling. There was no change there. But a terrible change came inside me. I was very depressed, very bleak, very angry with God. Through His merciful patience, I made my way back from that grim place and by the beginning of the summer, I felt like myself again. This occurrence coincided with my husband's new job (the dealership where he used to work has since closed down, another casualty of the economy) and the fact that he was finally making some money so that we were able to start catching up on the rent, which we had fallen behind on, as well as a few other things. But it seemed that we'd finally made it past that really bad period when Applesauce Anne threw a rod and my parents lent us Buddy the Blazer, whose transmission ungratefully conked out and then our computer's hard drive melted as well as a number of other petty and not-so-petty annoyances that make up modern life in a fallen world.
Well, here we are in the winter again and financially, things are worse than they've ever been. I sometimes merrily think to myself that I, touchingly naive, believed we'd hit rock bottom when we had to declare bankruptcy ourselves a few years back, but as it turns out, that was mere topsoil. Rock bottom was still a good ways down, I am deeply chagrined to acknowledge.
So here's my thing: I DO NOT WANT TO GO back to that bad place in my head again this year, that place where I am convinced that God has abandoned us and that Jesus doesn't love us anymore because of all those dumb emails I deleted (except the ones from Carol, because the ones she send always seem to be pertinent to my issssshewwwwwws). So far, I made it through the Christmas season with good cheer and hopefulness intact, despite the fact that we could only afford to spend about $25 on each of the girls and $12 on each other on presents. And despite the fact that we were all spewing vomit (or worse), coming down with infections and fevers and making casual drop-ins at the doctor's office or the city's urgent care center, where they now know members of my family by name. With all of that going on, I think it's miraculous that I'm not in a tastefully decorated home right now, confined to a bed with rails on the sides, muttering unintelligibly, becoming lucid only long enough to bark at some harried nurse to bring me more drugs.
Now I need to get through the rest of the winter and I admit to you right now that I am uneasily wondering what it has in store for us. Car sales are what you might call "slow." Our tax check is a long time coming, and it is already promised to the rental office. We're still using Pat and Angie's computer. Applesauce Anne is in the shop today getting something done with her serpentine belt, which sounds like an accessory to me, but obviously is more important than as just a fashionable item, because she screams like a banshee about that belt whenever we drive her, poor girl. I'm thinking that serpentine belts must be something more along the lines of a limb, the way she's acting.
One of the few comforts I have is that we're in this mess with a lot of other people (although it makes me feel very small and mean that I even have those thoughts) because everyone else in the grocery store is walking around looking like they just woke up from a nightmare and discovered that it was real.
I hope that God will help us all persevere in faith and bring us through these difficult times.
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