A thought-provoking deep Sunday for me today. Our pastor’s sermon was more of a talk, as he walked up and down the aisle at our lovely United Methodist church this morning. The text? John 3:31-35, where Jesus is teaching and his family (mother, brothers, sister) wants to talk to him. He is told they are waiting to see him, and Jesus asks basically, “Who is my brother, who is my mother, sister?” In Jesus’ eyes, anyone who believes in His father is His family.
I know this. I’ve read this passage before. I am part of a much larger family than just the three of us in this comfortable home in Wichita Falls. As such, I am called to help those who cannot help themselves. But where do you draw the line?
As widows go, I’m lucky in many ways. My sweet husband made sure that the boys and I would be okay financially without him. I worked fulltime until the age of 40, when we decided I would be a stay at home mom. Putting off having our children allowed us this luxury. He worked his you-know-what off with TPWD for 21 years, was frugal when he needed to be, sold items on eBay to supplement our income, and enjoyed investing. We weren’t given anything, but earned it the old fashioned way. We started out married life with school debts and literally no savings. Through hard work, belt-tightening, and diligence over almost 25 years, we’ve made a life for our family.
We are not rich by any means, but we are getting by. I have two sons, a 5th grader and a 4th grader. In just a few short years, we’ll be looking at two college tuitions, a year apart. I know if he had lived, we would be fine financially. But he’s gone, and I’m left in charge. I am called to be a good steward of what he worked so hard to provide us with. I cannot be frivolous.
Since his death, there’s been a parade of expenses to be addressed. You name it, I’ve had it. Fence replacement, jacuzzi dying, new tires needed, garage door opener replacement, lawn mower purchase, the list goes on and on and on. We’ve yet to have a “typical” month as far as expenditures go. I’m hoping that July will be the first such month since his death, almost a year ago.
I tithe to my church. I give to charitable causes whenever I am able. But I was put in a position today that was both foreign and awkward to me. It made me physically squirm. A friend asked me for a loan.
I’ll be honest, it upset me. I didn’t know how to respond. On the one hand, this person has had their share of crappy luck and circumstances. On the other, I am a widow, on a fixed income, with two young sons to raise without their father. I could not understand the reasoning behind this request. I am sure that the need was genuine, but the situation put me between a rock and a hard place.
It has bothered me all day. Not up to talking in person, I emailed them “no” with a detailed explanation. It may be awhile before I can get past this. I’m afraid our friendship will never be quite the same. But when all was said and done, and I took time to think things through, I knew I had to take care of who lives inside my house first.
The friend is still as precious to me as before the request. I just wish I had never been asked.
My boys can tell I’m out of sorts. I reassure them I’m okay. I will continue to make them my top priority, just as I promised their daddy on the day he died.
Good thing I had such a great mentor and teacher for 25 years. I’m confident he would have come to the same decision that I made, had he been still alive. And that makes me feel better.
Because being a responsible grown up sometimes ain’t all it’s cracked up to be 🙂