I’ve been thinking a lot about this subject recently; in fact, I had a minor panic attack the other night (not literally, but yeah) because I couldn’t seem to stop thinking about money. Even though the fact that I actually got a teaching job has brought on an enormous amount of relief, it did, however, make things a little bit harder as far as money goes for the summer. Since we have so many vacations/family events going on this summer, it would be extremely difficult to find a job that would allow me to have sufficient time off; therefore, Matt and I have decided that I won’t take a job this summer. And since Matt had to quit his job a couple weeks ago for school, you can perhaps imagine a small amount of the stress we’ve been feeling about our financial situation for the next couple months.
A couple nights ago, I worked myself up into a bit of a tizzy over some money particulars, and I found myself throwing a minor pity party over how unfortunate it was that I couldn’t buy all these things that I wanted/needed. That same night, I got a major headache (probably from all my stressing out), and I really didn’t feel like making dinner. So Matt and I scraped together a bunch of change that Matt had in his car and went out for Wendy’s. Afterwards, I found myself relentlessly beating myself up over the $5 that we could have better spent somewhere else. And then, as I took my car in to Jiffy Lube to get a safety inspection done, I discovered that there were several repairs that I needed to make before I could register it.
I was freaking out–the numbers just wouldn’t crunch, and I had no idea how everything would work out.
Then I had a bit of a breakthrough.
I was looking through some of my old pictures, and I came across these photos of the first place I ever lived in El Salvador. I remember that the house had very few pieces of furniture, lizards in the bathroom, and absolutely no hot water to speak of. And I was in the one of the nicer houses in the mission.
As I further reflected, I remembered how 99% of the people from my mission wouldn’t have ever been able to afford a meal at Wendy’s, and how many of them wondered on a daily basis where their next meal was coming from. There was one man who lived entirely on the mercy of his neighbor and the bounty of green beans and lemons growing outside of his dirt home.
And there I was, freaking out that I couldn’t buy a pair of new running shoes or drink all the Dr. Pepper I want.
And then it hit me: even as “poor” as I might feel compared to many other people around here, I am richer than most of the world:
I have running water (both hot and cold!) that is clean, fresh, and abundant.
I never really have to wonder where my next meal is coming from. Even though I might not dine on steak every night, I am never in doubt that I will have enough to fill my stomach.
I live in a relatively bug-free apartment with carpet, tiled floors, and painted walls. I enjoy the luxury of air conditioning when I’m too hot, and heat when I’m too cold.
I own my own car that is paid off and takes me where I need to go.
I completed a college education that will give me far more opportunities than many people will ever have.
I have a cell phone, working laptop, and DVD player, not to mention an iPod, television, Nook, washer/dryer, and numerous kitchen and other electronic appliances that make my life easier and more enjoyable.
And, most of all, I have a husband and family who love me, the light of the gospel in my life, and the blessing of health.
I could keep on going, but I guess what I wanted to say was this: although I might feel poor some of the time, I am more rich than most people will ever be.
I’m not writing this post to draw attention to our situation or make people feel sorry for us–rather, I just want to remember this time of our lives, and how it built our faith and our love for each other. I hope that one day, when I am able to go out to Wendy’s without worry, I will look back and remember this time with fondness.
Truly, I am one rich girl.