Then I read her latest post and saw myself all listed in the playah's list and such, and damned if I'm going to disappoint anyone coming over here for a steamy slice of the Wisdom of Poops. Also, if you pop over to Kate's blog, you'll see the list of participants and you can enjoy their musings on a theme as well.
Being a bit behind as I am, I am a tad confused as to which topic is for which week, and not sure if the "No Strings" topic is for tomorrow or if it was last Wednesday and I'm two weeks behind...
See, there are strings. Already I don't know if I'm on the right page or not.
Here's what I'll do: I'll post this on Wednesday and combine the two topics of "Thanks...Giving" and "No Strings." If I'm behind, I have a week to catch up. If I'm not, it means I'm right on track.
Thanks and Giving go hand in hand, like turkey and gravy. Sometimes not necessarily in that order.
My Aunt Elaine used to tell me that whenever you have extra money, you should give some of it out to people who need it. She swore that by doing that, whenever she needed money it was always there. She didn't worry about money, in part because she was a fantastic planner. But she also was a person of faith. She trusted that she'd have what she needed because she'd never been let down. She told me it was stupid to be worried about money because if you have faith, and if you give what you can when you can, the money will always be there.
I never knew her to be wrong. One year she was carefully saving her money to have the roof on the house repaired. But I was graduating college and going off to far-flung places to work in theater and she knew I needed a car. I'd just graduated and there was no way I could afford one. I hadn't had a real job to even get the credit to make payments on one. I relied on rides.
Aunt Elaine prayed on it, and decided to spend the money for the roof on a new car for me. She bought my my first set of wheels: a 1978 Cadillac Coupe de Ville. It was a big-ass car and burned gas like you would not believe, but it was mine free and clear and it got me where I needed to go for work.
The first year my summer stock job lasted well into December and I got home just before Christmas for a little downtime. I parked Ava (that was the Caddy's name, Ava) in the driveway and made myself at home on the second floor. One night she was out with friends and I was enjoying a quiet but chilly evening in. I decided to bake cookies and when that failed to warm the house very much, I grabbed some wood and got the stove in the living room roaring hot.
My dad got home shortly after and told me that I had a chimney fire going.
Long story short, the chimney fire caught inside the walls and destroyed the chimney, the walls on all three floors around the chimney, water damaged most of the other walls, and there was a pretty good sized hole in the roof.
The roof she was not sure how she was going to pay to have replaced, having spent the money on my car. The insurance paid for a new roof, and a lot more to boot. You just never know how your prayers are going to be answered.
The hell of it is that sometimes I get into a spot where there's just not a lot of extras, you know? When you're deciding between paying the oil bill or the electric bill, putting an extra sawbuck in the collection plate or the bell-ringer's buckets is hard to do. It's hard to tell myself "Someone needs this more than me."
The middle school just held their annual Gobble Wobble in which the classes compete against each other to collect the most food to stock local food pantries. The class that collects the most pounds, wins. And the food pantries win. This year they collected over two tons of food. It's a lot of food, but a lot of people are hungry.
We donated a grocery bag full, about five bucks worth of non-perishables. I remember a time when, without giving it a second thought, I bought a trunk full of groceries to donate just because Fr. Albert said we were running low. This year it hurt to only be able to give one bag.
"Give us this day our daily bread." Those words mean a lot to me, especially lately. Give us what we need today, right now. Not more. Not extra.
And of course, remembering that the second half of that equation is "thanks." Be humble, and truly grateful for prayers answered, even if sometimes they don't get answered the way you think they should. Sometimes God has to burn down half your house so you can fix the roof.
In the past couple of weeks I'd been lying awake trying to figure out how to get our ends to meet. They weren't even close. Our tax bill is $1700 and might as well be 17 million. Well, today we figured out a way to cover our taxes, stretch our resources through the end of the year, and even get some breathing room. Is it an ideal solution? No, but it means that I won't have to decide between paying the phone and the cable bill, that we can have meat in the spaghetti sauce this week, and come Sunday morning, I can put a 20 in the donation envelope instead of a couple of loose singles.
I believe that I'll be able to spare that 20, and I also know that if I give it with a joyful, thankful heart, that the money will always be there when I need it.
No strings attached.