Thursday, December 27, 2012

Woe is Me

Written before Christmas week, to sort through my thoughts and to relieve stress.

When you live paycheck to paycheck, Christmas can be a discouraging time of year. Life is so busy. I wear myself out during the week. Sometimes during weekends I can be so discouraged, with all the things that need to get done, that I am not able to get very much done at all. Life is not at all like it was even ten years ago. We swim against the stream, trying to keep things simple, but that only works so much. It’s so hard to have time together as a family. To make demands sometimes just doesn’t work, when those you are making the demands of are incapable of performing the task. A dog cannot turn into a cat, no matter how much you yell at it.

Tuition. An unexpected weekend plumber bill, right before Christmas. A larger plumbing bill looming. One car needs new tires. The other tire has a broken wheel. Both need windshield wipers. Two leaky faucets and a shower in need of repair. Of moldy ceiling. Maybe that’s why I’m sneezing so much. Light fixtures need to be replaced in front, back, and inside and outside of the garage. Folding doors need to be fixed. The garage door opener is broken. The yard is weeds and mud, and trees need to be cut down. I need new glasses. Ceil needs dental surgery. Her wedding ring is broken. Matthew has grown out of all of his clothes. He and Anna have raided Will’s closet for his hand me downs. No money for Christmas presents. Having an out of tune piano is the least of my worries. And these financial issues are just the tip of the iceberg.

Will manages without a car, helps pay his own tuition, earns scholarships, makes the Dean’s List at Georgia, and applies to work a time consuming job to save on costs. With little money, Anna and Matthew don’t get to participate in extracurricular activities like their older brother did (or their friends). This is unfair. It hinders their development as individuals. There simply aren’t kids in the neighborhood for them to go out and play with. It’s so much more complicated than that. Anna babysits. Ceil is working extra at Veritas. This pays tuition, and provides a little extra money. Her time is filled running Matthew around to various appointments. Tutors. Orthodontists. Dermatologists. Ceil is worn out at the end of the day. Anna can get her license, but then our auto insurance goes up. I should’ve taken an extra Christmas job. Selling on eBay helps, but not much. Decorating for Christmas can be a chore. It’s one more thing.

For someone to suggest “why don’t you just…” without knowing our whole situation, is much more discouraging than helpful. It’s not worth trying to explain our situation to people who have a hard time understanding things from other people’s viewpoints. Many people are too wrapped up in themselves to be able to read these words and understand them. I am certainly that way. Lots of people can only accept having things their way. Otherwise feelings are hurt and walls are built. I may want to please everyone, but that is impossible. I can’t take care of my family, much less please several others. I don’t have time to write this down, but it helps me sort out my thoughts.

As a family we have made and communicated decisions. They may be right or wrong. There’s no use subjecting ourselves to abuse and being even more miserable when there are other options. We certainly struggle with this. Others may have forgotten these decisions, been blind to the reasoning, or not understood. At times these decisions are seemingly heart-breaking, but the reasoning is still sound.

I’m certainly not perfect. It’s easy to see why non-Christians can be turned off by observing self-professed Christians as they copy and post religious homilies on Facebook and email, then act completely the opposite to family members. With so much emotion involved, it is so hard to think before speaking.    

I do have so many things to thank God for. Despite the above, our family is so blessed. Looking around, we certainly aren’t the only ones with issues. Those around me may be frustrated as well, but we all see silver linings in the clouds. I will continue to trust in God, and do what is best for my family.