slightly off center.

you’ll forgive me when i forget we’re not the normal ones here.  on top of that, i’ve been thinking a lot about wealth lately, reading ben hewitt‘s Saved:  How I Quit Worrying about Money and Became the Richest Guy in the World.  tantalizing, eh?

we’re long past chasing traditional wealth, andy & i.  pretty much we stared her down when andy went into youth minsitry & i into english (an english major gets you nothing but stacks upon stacks of filled notebooks.  & a really strong sense of grammatical errors.). we decided, matter-of-factly, that we’d find our wealth elsewhere.  to be clear, youth pastors don’t make heaps monetarily.

now, of course, andy works for himself in our basement.  in fact, we just converted the family room into a t-shirt room, & the t-shirt room became a maker’s space.  we were living with a fully finished basement, which felt kind of silly.  we were never down there.  now we live upstairs & work downstairs.  but i suppose that’s another post.

anyway, when you work for yourself, well.  working for yourself means sometimes you just don’t work.  & me, in charge of the brood & the castle, i add nothing monetarily to the pot.  (i just stir it. . . .)  so if there isn’t t-shirt work, the living is slim.
i’ve never questioned that this wouldn’t be bad.

going without?  how is that a good idea?
isn’t that what we’re all afraid of, at the bottom of ourselves?

turns out, yet again, i am wrong.  you, i’m sure, are used to this by now.
let me tell you how this time.

friday night is pizza night here.  but this past friday leif had been sick most of the day with a nasty cold that moved into his ears so that he complained of his mouth hurting, even.  so, he & i spent some quality time curled up with ye ‘ol phone watching old mickey mouse cartoons.  one cannot make pizza dough from under a whimpering two-year-old.  i revised dinner in my head, & my first thought was takeout, or the wal-mart equivalent.  but honestly, even if we had a spare twenty on us, i wouldn’t spend it on dinner (unless we had celebratin’ to do, like thalia’s 9th birthday tomorrow – woot!).  oh, heavens, no.  that sweet bill would head straight into debt repayment or the travel fund.  which meant i needed to rethink dinner myself, as inconvenient as that seemed, as mickey mouse courted minnie on my (cracked, shared) handheld.  an hour later, the toddler wiggled out of my lap, no longer in pain, & went off to town with daddy, leaving me & the five-year-old to make dinner:  pizza dough, as i’d intended.  & was i inconvenienced?  again, heavens, no!  i was tired, but not inconvenienced.  i spent the late afternoon with the five-year-old who stayed home & rolled out pizza crust with me, i got the laundry in from off the line (our dryer has been out of commission since christmas day.  blessing, not curse.  truth.), & i caught up with the dishes (by hand.  dishwashers, though we have one & don’t use it, make me crazy.).  i felt rejuvenated by my diy-ness, flexed my resourcefulness a bit, both of which sprang out of the kind of necessity that my grandmother would have laughed at.  making dinner inconvenient?  i think i can hear her laughing. . . .

this is only one teeny example in the giant story of us.  for some reason unknown to us, we are being pressed down into whoknowswhat financially.  & the pressing down, the going without, the do-smaller-things-than-you’d-planned revisions continue to be good.  blessings, not curses.

i don’t understand it, but obviously that’s not my job.
there is a different kind of wealth here in the lower realms.

a couple weeks ago i woke up to this tangled idea of wealth, like a cat sitting on my chest.  as i came slowly into consciousness, with a toddler pressed into my left bicep, it occurred to me, “i have FOUR children.  how rich!   i could sell them they add so much richness to my life.”  in that moment, i felt a true & abiding sense of wealth.  “here they are, all in my house, under my control, & healthy, smart, & strong.  i might have it made.”  i am really & truly wealthy, & i felt it.  that kind of wealth feels good.

so, all this to say, i have no plan to begin chasing big cars & fancy furniture.  i will never sign up for a cruise.  my life is working just fine, even when it’s skimpy.  we’ll stay here, slightly off center.  but what i do plan on is continuing to chase hard & fast, nose to the ground-like, the portions of my life where true & abiding wealth lie:  family, friends, faith, health, meaningful work.  joy, peace, love, kindness.  & i will continue to redefine wealth, tacking on hefty items like resourcefulness.  ample free time.  open calendars.  hugs in great number.

& just for kicks, i bet we could throw in all the little things, too, after we’ve totalled the big ticket items.  wealth like sun warming the table in morning’s light.  little or big arms around mama’s neck.  a heartfelt apology, given or received.  clean clothes.  favorite ratty ol’ jeans.  full tummies.  a movie loaned from the library.  none of these things are expensive, but i’m darn rich if i can lay claim to them.

aren’t i?

4 thoughts on “slightly off center.

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