December 12, 2009

they don't all have to be in order

December 12, 2009 8:15am

This is actually the third edition of something I wrote this morning. It started with an email, then moved on to be expanded as a journal entry, and now I'm posting it here.

I know that I've been scheduling all my posts for future days of late, but I don't want to get so caught up in doing that that I feel I can't write about today and post it today too.

So I'm posting this despite the interference to the chronology of the rest of my posts. It's my blog and I can do what I want!

I wanted to write in my journal last night, but by the time I got all caught up on “V” on the DVR and finished writing an email, I had literally just finished updating Microsoft Word on the laptop when Cody walked in the door.

Since I was writing about my “issues”, I am pretty sure my journaling would have been more of the same. As it was, it was 10:00pm, I hadn’t seen Cody all day, and we were both exhausted. I thought about staying up a little later, since I really had wanted to write, but instead I said “Fuck it” and went to bed.

This morning I woke up in a much better mood than I have in the last couple of weeks, and I pray to God that it lasts the whole day through. I have, however, been plagued this morning with some not so pretty thoughts about one subject in particular. I’d talked with God a few times about it while having my morning coffee and getting through my routine, but it was still weighing heavily on my mind.

While writing a long-overdue email to my mom and dad, I shared with them a little about it, and before I knew it, the flood gates opened and I realized that I was expressing myself in my letter to them the same way I tend to in my blog and journal. I almost cut and pasted it into my journal right then and there, with the intention to re-write a less detailed update to mom and dad and go back to finish my writing in the journal when I was done.

I decided to just continue writing, as I apparently had something to say and didn’t want to interrupt my “flow”. Before I knew it, I was pretty much preaching a sermon to myself. It was pretty much me working through the issues I woke up with, and I feel it was God’s way of answering my prayers of earlier this morning. I’m thankful that he helped me work through it myself without having to beg and plead for signs and wonders and all of the usual drama.

I decided to send it to mom and dad as is, and then pasted it here in my journal, because I really did feel moved by God’s using me to exhort myself for a change. I want to be able to hold on to not only the lesson I’ve learned from it, but the feeling of peace that it gave me.

The excerpt is as follows:

We got our bonuses yesterday, so the wait is over for another year. My group leader was very kind with my merit rating this year, but with lower profits and a lower income to base my bonus on, my good rating didn't translate to a whole lot compared to years passed. I'm grateful though, that I'm getting a bonus at all. With the year going the way it has, I've said that as long as my bonus covers my insurance premiums for the year with some money left over, I would be happy. Now that we're on the other side of bonus day, I'm doing my best to remind myself that I got what I decided was acceptable to me, and more besides.

Having spent the better part of this past year in a church with a fantastic outreach program is really awesome. The sad part is, for a church to have such a fantastic program, that means there is a need for it. So I have had the opportunity to see things that most of us don't think about very often. We see homeless and disadvantaged people on TV or read about them in the papers, but to be honest, God has blessed us through our work and education richly enough that we don't have to experience that and haven't seen it a lot in our own "real" lives.

There is so much more hunger out there than the little cravings I get while I'm watching TV snuggled up with my dog in my recliner. If I get a little chilly, I can afford to turn up the heat a little. Or if I'm being a smart consumer and want to conserve the energy, I'm typically not any colder than a sweatshirt and a lovingly made afghan can handle.

There are so many people who are so much more cold than me, so very much more hungry than me, so tragically lost to their families and friends.

How dare I be ungrateful enough to entertain a little pity-party in my head for even one second simply because my bonus wasn't big enough when so many people don't have jobs. My profit-sharing, which is non-guaranteed income, is more than some people make in a year, because they have no income. I'm able to write a check to keep a roof over my head, another to keep the lights on, and yet another so that when I turn the knob on my fancy box in the corner, a beautiful fire is there to warm me on command.

Sorry. I got a little carried away. But I needed that. I've been talking to God a lot this morning and praying about my ungrateful heart, and I think He used my letter to you guys to work it out.

Re-reading this here in my journal makes me feel a bit better all over again. I got a pay cut at this time last year, and then a reduction in my hours. The two combined added up to a 45% cut in my pay that has lasted over a year now with the exception of the two and a half weeks I spent working on the line last month.

Cody lost his job almost a year ago.

Our dog got sick and needed surgery.

The faucet in our shower is degraded to the point that one valve no longer closes completely and we have a slow but steady drip 24/7.

I can’t afford to give the gifts I would like to give to my family this year, much less afford to give gifts to all the friends we usually do.

Yet, we’re still able to pay our bills and afford an evening out from time to time. Granted we don’t go out as often, and we have to do less expensive things, but we’re still able.

Cody has not yet found work, but thankfully his unemployment helps cover our bills as much as it is needed to. Cody has been able to volunteer an amazing amount of time and energy to helping others. He’s happier doing what he’s doing now than he has ever been working at a “real” job for a paycheck.

The veterinarian we use is inexpensive enough that we could afford several procedures that would have drained our savings at any other animal hospital. We never had to have that difficult discussion about how much money can we spend before we have to discuss letting go of a life so precious to us both.

Cody is skilled enough to fix most things himself. Through his outgoing personality, he has met people on a personal level most of us take for granted. One of those people happens to be his “go to” hardware guy, who gladly takes on every valve we’ve every brought him and rebuilds them to a like-new state even though they’re older than I am. He’s happy to be of real help, and we’re happy to spend money in his store even though it’s more expensive than most big box places because he’s so kind.

My family is loving and understanding enough to not care what they get, if anything. They just want to spend a special time together, celebrating together. My friends feel the same way. God has brought “real” relationships into my life.

Despite all the hardships of the past year, I’m still standing. I have my own issues to deal with, and I’ve been struggling of late, but I never want to go a day without remembering that I have so much to be thankful for.

Have a great weekend, gang.

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