Fear of the Unknown
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I once stood behind a large family in line at a currency exchange booth in the South Pacific. I leaned in and realized that I couldn’t understand a word they were saying and thus began my worry that I would not be able to communicate with those who worked behind the thick glass that kept us separated from them.
I had just suffered through a 10-hour long flight was feeling a bit worse for the wear. Disheveled and tired, I groped through my bags looking for my planner that serves as my wallet. The early morning light barely showing its face, I longed for a hot shower and a soft bed, but I was still three hours away from my destination as I waited for my next flight. The large and loud family ahead of me moved on, and I now faced my first South Pacific transaction. In absolutely perfect English, I was asked how I might be helped. I breathed in a huge sigh of relief and with a big toothy smile, I handed the “money changer” my scant $100 bill plus a fiver to cover the exchange charge.
My Crooked Castle
I walked away feeling rather smug, even though I had accomplished so little. I found a seat and counted my bills/dollars, while I waited for my connecting island hopper flight. Money stresses me out; it always has. There never seems to be enough and I incessantly worry about my funds. I cover up my money stress well, I have had to. Single motherhood and a couple recessions thwarted the hopes and dreams I grew up with, that I would live happily ever after, in a castle on a cloud – that I would lovingly embrace the freedom afforded by royalty, for was I not a princess? Did I not have parents who provided everything this little princess could ever want or need, and would I not be able to provide the same for my kingdom, in my own “once upon a time”?
Sadly, reality bites.
There have been moments – though brief – when life and affording that life have run smoothly. Those moments have been few and far between and over the years, I have come to realize that I am not alone, for financial struggles do not only daunt me. Hard work is in my nature, so is appreciating what I have. As we walked and scootered around an impoverished island paradise, I learned to find joy in the smallest affordabilities: a sunset, a broken shell, a downed coconut, a triangle shaped coin, a cup of clean and drinkable water – with ice cubes, no less, but most treasured were messages received from my kids so far away. It is the simple things…
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Finding Peace in What You Have
In the region of the South Pacific we visited, I had opportunity to drive past house after house with no roof and no windows; they had been blown off and out during a hurricane just a short year before. Even though I have gone through a foreclosure, after what I viewed, I found peace within myself and what I have been able to provide thus far for my children. It isn’t all about the “things” they have, though that is an illusion we hide behind when real life gets dodgy.
“If I get my kids an annual pass to Disneyland, they will forget the pain of their parents divorcing.”
“If I buy my son the latest and greatest Xbox game, he will forgive me for missing his soccer game because I can’t afford to take time off work.”
“If I get my daughter a bunny, maybe she will stop begging me for horseback riding lessons, which I cannot afford.”
Maybe for a day, or for a week, the pain of reality – of truth – rarely goes away. Better is the unconditional love only a parent can give. I am lucky – I am fortunate – I am blessed, even through multiple recessions, financial ruin, the loss of a home, two divorces, and the pain of lost love.
Sanity sometimes comes at a price
For me, it is the loss of time and the loss of good memory skills. I have a horrible memory, mostly because some of those memories were too difficult to hang on to. I have trained myself to let them go and in the process, some of my memory skills have slipped away, as well. Sanity, mainlined. Continual hurt averted. Blessings reassured in mind and truth.
by Rayanne Thorn