Wednesday, January 18, 2012

The Good, the Bad, and the Silver Lining

The Good:  So, I have this spreadsheet. (What good story doesn’t begin like this??)  It has all the information I could ever want on my student loans.  Every time I get a bill or a statement, I update it so I know where I’m at.  For some reason, my federal loans weren’t sending me bills, but I knew how much those loans were, so I just marked in the amount and called it good.

Well, a couple of weeks ago I got a bill.  My federal loans amount to about $27,000, and that’s what this bill confirmed.  So I went into my handy-dandy-nerdy spreadsheet and updated the information.  But as I was doing this, I got confused.  To make a long story short, by my own error, I had counted one of my loans worth $10,000 twice on my spreadsheet.  I did this because it was a federal loan, but it was being serviced by Sallie Mae, who I had received a bill from and therefore counted already.

Now, I know there aren’t too many of you out there with loans of my enormity, but I think anyone can relate to this feeling.  We had been telling ourselves (and you all!) that we had $105,000 in loans to pay off.  On this day, these were suddenly decreased by $10,000.  I was shocked.  Dumbfounded.  Blown away.  Whatever you call it, it was like a huge burden had been lifted from my shoulders.  (Actually, a huge burden had been lifted.  In the form of $10,000).

The Bad: Last week, I had what some scholars might call the worst day in the history of mankind.  I was running around getting ready for work, and as I stuffed my water bottle into my purse, I noticed something didn’t seem right.  My wallet was missing.  Ohmygoshmywalletismissing.  I did a quick search, but I had to get to work, so I got in the car and drove to work (illegally).  

Well, about halfway to work, my engine makes a funny sound.  Being the expert in foreshadowing that I am, I think you know what comes next.  I look in my rearview mirror and see a roundish black thing bouncing in the road away from my car.  Hmm, I think.  That doesn’t seem good... Instantly, my steering wheel locks up and my battery light comes on.  I pull into the middle median and hold my composure for about a millisecond before freaking out.

A. I’m going to be late for work.
B. My knight in shining armor can’t save me because I have the only white horse our family owns.
C. That white horse just died.  Or is at least seriously injured.
D. I can’t call the cops because guess what the first thing they’ll ask me for is?  My license.  Which I do not currently have.
E.  We have very few friends, and they all live 30 minutes away.

So I called my employers, and they rescued me in 1,000 ways that day.  The father came and drove my poor sick horse to the vet.  This means the car repair shop in case you are bad at following metaphors.  It was expensive to fix, and we are obviously broke, but we did what we had to do.  At the end of the day, I wished I could karate chop that Tuesday right in the throat, but I just went to bed, defeated.

The Silver Lining: There are actually many of these.  First, the people of our church really came around us in love.  We had offers of services, books, and even cars.  We had prayers aplenty and loving emails in abundance.  Every time I began to despair, I would receive another reminder of love and support.

Second, we had an emergency fund.  I am the kind of person who doesn’t like using the emergency fund even for emergencies, but we did have it, and we were able to repair the car without biting into our savings/daily living expenses.  This whole disaster could have been an actual crisis, but it wasn’t.  It just sucked.  It might seem crazy, but I truly believe that emergency fund was one way God has blessed us for being obedient to Him and for attempting to be good stewards even when we don’t have much.

Third, though there were (of course) TONS of extra repairs they recommended, the ones we chose as necessary all came in under estimates, and we ended up spending about $400 less than what we thought.  Again, even though the day was horrible, God rescued us and provided for us, even though it may not have been in the way we would have chosen.  
Fourth, I was (mostly) able to keep my perspective. I was able to come back, again and again, to a quote I read on another blog that I have tacked onto my bulletin board. "It's one thing to despair over a life or hard circumstances, but things- no matter their price tag- certainly do not deserve to fall into that category."

I’ll continue some of these thoughts in my next post!

No comments:

Post a Comment