Becoming Rich and Beautiful
I'm at such an interesting season of life. Everything feels suspended, dreamlike, unreal. As if there were no before and who knows when there will be an after. So within these days we are holding on to the small moments. Calling them for what they are. Beautiful. Knowing this life for what it is. Rich.
Part of me still grapples with the fact that we are $100,000 in school debt for my husbands degree which landed him a job flying for the airlines which gives him a paycheck beneath poverty level. It's criminal. Or the fact that he's only paid when the engine is running. You're flight got delayed? Boo hoo. Your pilot wasn't paid a cent during that time and he probably has hungry babies at home. Or worse, a hangry wife. He he. Speaking of hungry, they don't feed him either.
He loves his job, and I'm excited for his career. I really truly am. But with all the money talk I had someone mention a few ideas on how they thought I could contribute. It was something along the lines of find a low pay job that magically falls during school hours and works around my children's sick days, weekends, school holidays, half days, off days. Did I mention my husband is only home a few days a month? So I'm basically on my own. If I had to pay child care it would eat up my pay. But if I make too much I loose foodstamps and medical care for my kids making me worse off than when I started all while someone else raises my children.. You get the point. In fact I'm sure some of you reading this are in the same position. It's a no win situation.
And I know there are those who will gladly crucify me for these views. But this I know: If you accept government aid you will be crucified no matter what you do. Feed your kids healthy on those foodstamps? Not fair. Feed them Ramen? Bad uneducated lazy parenting. Take your kids to the library? Get a job. Jump through hoops just to earn a couple more bucks? So that's why your kids are delinquents.
So you can imagine the guilt of picking up a camera or a book. Cooking a good meal from scratch or exercising. Shoot, even dressing nice. Part of me is afraid to dress up when I'll be using food stamps. Part of me wants to tell the cashier, you know this adorable dress I'm wearing was only a dollar at Goodwill? Because if you're broke you sure as hell better look poor, act poor, be poor.
This week my husband was home from a trip and we were the first ones up. "Maryanne, the wind is blowing!" And just like that we were like two little kids watching a first snow. We turned the lights off, opened the door, and delighted in silence. Beautiful rich billowing silence.
That is how we are when we don't have to keep our poor facade up. It's so heavy to keep up for long...
And music, we love music. Our kids dance and dream about the music they will make someday. Art. It's not just a distraction in our house. Art is beauty and meaning. Art pulls us outside ourselves, reminds us what's true, and gives rest to our weary souls. I'm not sure if poor folks are allowed to delight in art. Next thing you know the poor will be making art, pshh! Books and ideas. Oh we love those too. My kids confronted me about putting a limit on how many books they can check out at once. We go a few times a week. I think I'm suppose to act so poor that I don't have time to read about politics, science, health, or spirituality. I feel like I should explain I don't have TV. (Poor people are allowed TV) Now is also good time to mention I'm a Christian. I read an overview of Darwin this week. Pretty sure I would have been double crucified if anyone discovered me in the library that day.
How unnerving the rich and beautiful can be. Yet it's my life. I'll take it.
P.S. I really do approach this beautiful life with discipline less you think I'm just floating about. I'm always "working". I love this quote my cousin posted on Facebook this week.
“We are always falling in love or quarreling, looking for jobs or fearing to lose them, getting ill and recovering, following public affairs. If we let ourselves, we shall always be waiting for some distraction or other to end before we can really get down to our work. The only people who achieve much are those who want knowledge so badly that they seek it while the conditions are still unfavorable. Favorable conditions never come.” - CS Lewis