First, let me encourage those of you who have been laid-off from your job.
Tom had been out of work for 18 months and--even though God miraculously took care of all our needs--still, by January of 2012, we were down to around $200 in our bank account. Tom still received unemployment checks, but things looked a bit dicey that cold January.
We knew it was a test.
Would we worry? (We hadn't been, but then, we'd always had more than a paltry $200.) Would we scheme and make plans apart from God's? Would we stop giving to others or tithing? (That part was easy. No, we'll always give.) But just $200 in the bank(!)
Yet we decided to stay heart-determined that all would be well. And soon, it was. Money suddenly came from odd, unimagined places. Then Tom got a job, was laid-off again 10 months later, then--amazingly--got the kind of job he'd dreamed about for 25 years. Immediately, no waiting this time.
And now, 17 months after that $200 January? The miracle: we've saved-up 13 months of expenses. And hey, in 33 years of marriage, we had never saved-up even 3 months' worth of expenses before (don't ask). And the wild part is that he's earned less money per hour at these last two jobs.
So please let that encourage you. God can change things around in huge ways. He's incredible like that.
Anyway, this all has me thinking about the way Tom and I spend weekends now. How do we spend them? Like slugs.
Well, I grocery shop, but other than that? Drop by and you'll find us lolling around the house, watching tv, ordering out for Chinese (or making great sandwiches), or sitting on the front porch or did I already mention watching tv? If we get super adventurous we travel one-half mile to watch a movie at the theater.
Of course, I totally understand that Tom needs downtime since he's away and driving and working Monday through Friday. I do get that so I go along with it even though I'm home all those days--but--being an introvert, more staying home doesn't bother me. Usually.
But here's the thing. We badly need a new couch (Daniel and Debra destroyed our current one. Don't ask about that, either.) And our barn-sale dining room table with the gash and scratches and mismatched chairs? Many days I dream of something different. And the outside house trim still needs to be painted and I keep daydreaming about having 2 skylight tubes installed into cave-like Debra's World upstairs here where I'm spending most of my life. And I've not bought new clothes since 2012 and I've only been to 2 yard sales this whole year and --
... and I'm spending these slug-like weekends wondering is something wrong with us? We've got more money than ever before, yet we're not spending any of it. Well, other than on bills, occasional household or vehicle repairs and on a rare dvd or book. Oh, not out of a hoarding, don't-want-to-get-down-to-$200-again kind of fear either (I'm 100% certain of that). No, Saturday just seems to arrive each week with all our fun intentions of traveling down to the furniture store or doing yard sales or calling for painting or lighting estimates--and yet do we do those things? Uh, no. We say, "Let's just stay in. Together."
And that keeps sounding delightful. Weekend after stay-at-home weekend.
But here's what I'm thinking (and hoping is true). I think that--mostly--we are content. The good kind of contentment, as in, so grateful for every tired ol' stick of furniture in this tiny, tiny house. At this age, where we've come? We don't neeed a new couch or table or other things to celebrate or keep up with anyone. The gratitude seems to fill our hearts, our real needs, more than new furniture or pretty white trim ever could. More than driving around to yard sales or movies or clothing stores or even long, delicious day trips ever could.
And for us that's big. And probably pretty normal for others in their 50's, too, well, those who aren't in the middle of a mid-life crisis. I think we already experienced our crisis, you know, with the whole farm adventure thing which taught us there's no place like home--in the suburbs.
So. Are we lazy or just at a grateful, floppy, contented turn in the road? Probably a little of both. Whatever it is--this is likely one of 99 different seasons we've faced together. And like the rest, it won't last forever. Yet really? It's one of the more pleasant seasons we have known.
"Once I was young, and now I am old. Yet I have never seen the godly abandoned or their children begging for bread." ... Psalm 37:25
"But godliness actually is a means of great gain, when accompanied by contentment. For we have brought nothing into the world, so we cannot take anything out of it either." ... 1 Timothy 6:6,7