Power’s Out [part 2 of 4]
By Christian and Christie Skoorsmith of Seattle, WA, USA
Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. He fasted forty days and forty nights, and afterwards he was famished. -Matthew 4:1-2 NRSV
We’re in our late thirties. At some point we should be able to live independently of our parents. Right?
We were still living relatively simply, but in our desperation had outsourced a lot of our domestic work (like cooking, food shopping, and help with child care), and that cost a surprising amount of money. So we started tracking our expenses again and discovered we spent a lot of money eating out, eating food that didn’t nourish us all that much, buying what was easy. That’s understandable (survival, remember!), but it couldn’t last. First decision: eat out less…a lot less.
Over the next three months we paid closer attention to other expenses, tracked and cut, tracked and cut. Except for shoes, we didn’t buy any clothes for the kids, gladly accepting hand-me-downs from friends and neighbors and the occasional gift from grand or godparents. We shopped for our own clothes at thrift stores.
We didn’t go out for movies or dinner dates, preferring picnics in a park and free YouTube videos in bed. We sold our second car and kept one car that we could cram the whole family in (just barely, but we did it). Christie started commuting to work on a bike. We took the kids out of their Spanish-immersion preschool. We tore up the front yard grass and turned it into garden beds (entertainment and food!). We bought food in bulk.
And we STILL couldn’t make it.
We were a family working a job-and-a-half at mid-level management, living in a small house in a cheaper neighborhood, driving one old car, and eating out of the yard. And we couldn’t even meet those expenses. We still needed money from our parents. And we weren’t happy. We were working too hard for too little of what we wanted.
No savings. No investments. No rainy-day fund for car break downs. No college education for the kids. No vacations abroad.
We could both work full time in better-paying jobs, of course, put our kids in full-time daycare, come home stressed and depleted, and inch our way toward a conventional retirement at 70. Meanwhile, our lives would have passed us by. That seemed like too steep a price for not enough payoffs. And we didn’t want to do what it would take to make it work, because the “it” wouldn’t be worth a fraction of that effort.
God, may my deep hope align with your deep vision. Release in me anything that keeps me from freely following your Spirit. Amen.
Invitation to Spiritual Practice
Breathe deeply as you enter a time of silence. Become gently attentive to what may be restricting you from faithfully responding to the divine invitation in your life. Are there priorities, attachments, tasks, or motivations competing for your response? What does freedom for God look or feel like in you this day?
Today’s Prayer for Peace
Engage in a daily practice of praying for peace in our world. Click here to read today’s prayer and be part of this practice of peace.