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Packing up my mobile office I heading to the lake this morning. It felt like a much-needed change of scenery. Armed with two cups of coffee and my laptop I desperately needed the bird’s song and the cool kiss of the spring wind on my skin. What I didn’t know is that the drive away from my warm bed would yield a topic that is on I do not enjoy working through.
The state of my finances has always been on my mind. It looms back in my thoughts and drives me to panic at times. I was around nine when my friends and I started our first company. We cleaned offices for the staff at the Village until a coffee mug broke. After that, we baked fresh picked raspberry pies, sold shiny rocks out of my newly graveled driveway and regularly rummaged through our toys to host yard sales out by the road in our one street town. When I was twelve, I started babysitting, and by thirteen I sold Avon. I had some form of income that was all my own until 2008 when we packed up our family and moved to Nashville. Finding a job with three children that would be with me was difficult in Oklahoma, but imposable in a town I had no contacts and no car.
Here I am, it’s 2017, and it has been nine years since anyone handed me a paycheck with my name on it. I have gone through so many moments where I feel like I am the least valuable person on earth because there is no monetary exchange for some kind of skill that I have to offer. Speaking out of love for myself and all the other parents that shift their perspectives from work to children, we are more valuable than we may ever know to the children that we spend our ever loving moments with. We don’t get bathroom breaks, and lunch is often eaten standing up off the plates of our children when they won’t finish their food and heaven forbid we drink a cup of coffee that hasn’t been reheated several times.
My three are older now. There is less chasing them around the house but somehow I lock that bathroom door, and they peel themselves away from the tv long enough to find out where I am.
Honestly, I will miss it when they are grown, and I will keep my grandchildren and love it when they chase me down and bang on a closed door because they need me too.
Driving to my quiet spot on the lake this morning I was reminded that I have to play bookkeeper today, so our studio and home finances don’t run amuck. I cringed. I know what I will see frankly, I will see two accounts with low funds and the constant question of what should I be doing to help out around here. Ironically, it never fails that when I sit to work on our books the house is a mess and I haven’t cooked a meal in days. I head into the hours of balancing, and paycheck writing with the heaviness of the voice inside saying, “you don’t do your required job, that doesn’t pay you well enough to expect to get a paying job.”
Palm to face. Tears well up. Self-destruction commence.
This morning though I talked to wisdom and she talked back.
I gripped the wheel and drove under the tall trees of the neighborhood streets and asked why do I find myself here so often? Why is everyone leaving our studio and life feels like a dentist appointment all the time? Will more talented artist find us and see the vision we have for our community and our passion for art? Will they link arms with us and create?
“It’s a season change,” wisdom whispered to my soul, oxygen filled my lungs, and the lake came into view.
It won’t alter the balance of our checking accounts, and it won’t ease my lumberjacks heavy schedule, but it was a breath of fresh air. I understand what her dance means to us today. I am soothed by her invitation to enjoy the north winds on my face and the sun on my back. I can dance with her, and let this journey continue or I can hide away and let the stress of the unknown keep me from life’s season changes.
I won’t paint this as some beautiful moment of faith where time feels safe, and money doesn’t matter. Telling you that I was euphorically at rest for the day and this didn’t press down on me like only the burden of finances can, would be a straight up lie. The heaviness of life comes and goes at its own pace.
The season may be changing, but walking through it feels like walking through deep mud. What I will say in, there is no truth in feeling that I have no value. There will never be a moment when the creator of all things says, “Oops, I could have done better.” Life isn’t easy at times, and we can’t just think happy thoughts and let it all go, but we can breathe deeper knowing that our value is not measured in what we do and how much money we have it is measured by the one who created us. The One whose breath fills our lungs and whose song pulled us into existence.
May you rest with me in what may also be a change of season for you. Breathe in his love and listen to his song.