So here’s the thing. Last year, my husband and I went through a financial nightmare. He lost one job after another and we just could not get ahead. Then we got pregnant.
And our first born was quickly approaching her third birthday.
We then lost two of our beloved pets, one two weeks right after the other. We did not have any money for anything. We skimped on food, gas, and picked what bills we wanted to pay.
We were barely making it.
I was struggling to work because carrying the twins was rough. My hours were dropping due to the fact that they were exceptionally heavy to carry. Because my body assumed my pregnancy was complete halfway in, this caused constant contractions from the minute I stood up to the minute I laid down. I powered through the days I clocked in and managed to work until my 34-week mark. I delivered a week later.
Then our landlord decided to sell the house we lived in for the past five years. We couldn’t find a place so we moved back in with family. Then not two weeks later, our only source of transportation broke down infinitely.
But this is not what my post is about. Trust me, there’s a book coming for that one.
My thoughts tonight are about giving. Everything we went through has made me a better person. I’ve become more humble and focused on everyone else, even though we’re not quite on our own feet just yet. I didn’t think I could be grounded any further downward, because it wasn’t like it was the first time we ever struggled.
Seven years prior we went through the same thing, but with a huge difference; we didn’t have any children.
Once we got back on our feet that time, we had really good years. Those years we had money to spare and was doing better than okay. We were traveling, eating out at nice restaurants, and buying whatever we needed at any given moment.
During those times, I didn’t think about giving as much as I do now. It’s not that I was being stingy, because materialistic things never meant anything to me; that includes money. We still gave money for birthdays, offered to feed homeless people, and went out of our way to help people. But because I thought we were still struggling then because our budget was still tight, I never reached out with money to those who probably really needed it. We could have forgone a date night or two, to help someone buy food. I only thought about the bills we had to pay so I thought we didn’t have the resources.
But we did.
There’s a reason they say “hindsight is 20/20.”
If we had known then what we knew now, things would have been so very different. Never in my life have I wanted to walk around a grocery store handing out twenty dollar bills more. The problem is that I don’t have any now.
During this past year, so much support has poured into our lives. I cannot even begin to give every single example, as so many people showed where they stand in our lives. I also won’t name names, as I know most of them do not do anything for recognition.
People offered to pay bills, took us to get groceries, drove out of their way to help us, and sent diapers to our house by the box-full. Another friend moved into a makeshift room in our dining room ‘just because’ so she could pay us rent just for an extra income. We were fronted money to move. And once our car went out, people were driving us to doctor appointments. Then we received another huge blessing that inspired this post (thank you VS. <3)
This isn’t the case for everyone and I realize that. Some people struggle so hard. I used to wonder how people became homeless, as I was driving up with their cheeseburgers from McDonalds. The system doesn’t always look out for every single person. It’s disheartening. I hate it.
But because of all this, I’ve started thinking about the world with a different perspective. Kindness is truly all we have left. With all the hate and disaster happening around us, we really do need to band together and show our hearts. I give back every single chance I am able to now. I watch for opportunities and commit. Though, I still struggle with reaching out with my social anxiety, but once I do – I feel such relief. I would carry everyone on my back if I could. But I don’t want the recognition either, as that is not the intent of outreach.
Money sucks. Money is what makes all the gears grind and not everyone has it. Or we don’t have enough of it. But it takes five seconds to discover the context clues of those who need the help.
When you’re standing in a checkout line in a grocery store, pay attention. There may be a mother literally counting the pennies to pay for what she needs for her and her children. Once you notice her casting concerned glances at each number that rings up on the card reader, if you can step in, please do. Or if someone says that they can’t buy something (within reason of course) and have to put it back, jump in and offer to pay for it if you can.
You can to fill up someone’s gas tank. You can offer to go to someone’s house and help them around the house. You can turn around and take food to the homeless man on the corner. You can buy someone’s coffee or pay for their food order. Over-tip. Offer to pay a bill.
We don’t know anyone’s situation. Like I read in an article recently, we don’t come with signs or disclaimers. We just have to be the best versions of ourselves to everyone that we meet.
Sometimes we cannot find even a spare cent, but on those days you can offer hugs. Smile at everyone you come into contact with. Be brave and show love.
Please don’t think that “you don’t have the money” unless you absolutely do not. It always comes back in some way or another. That’s not the reason to do it, but always remember that. The state of humanity is more important than the squabbles of ordinary finances.
My faith has been restored by each and every human being who made me tear up with joy ; by every single person who showed light in the darkest of places. Be that light to as many people as you can. Trust me, it’s worth it.
Love. And love hard. We’re all we have.