‘What does love look like? It has the hands to help others. It has the feet to hasten to the poor and needy. It has eyes to see misery and want. It has the ears to hear the sighs and sorrows of men …… That is what love looks like.’ - St. Augustine

Monday, November 12, 2012

Learning the Art of Humility

Times are tough. They keep getting tougher. I am not used to this.

I obviously live a pretty simple life -- small house, old car, second-hand clothes, staycations instead of vacations. I've liked it that way, and felt grateful for what I had. But God (or 'life' for my agnostic and athiest friends) has a way of moving us out of our comfort zones. Even if we have consciously tried to do just that most of our lives. Stagnant water breed disease. A strong current keeps things moving, and healthier. So, I'm viewing this as my current, even if it feels like a tsunami from my view.

After being out of work for four months, I finally had to dig into my adoption savings to pay the rent. And then more, to pay for the oil bill. And then a little more, to pay for the car insurance and then the electric bill, and then, sadly, for food. I can't begin to describe the guilt and shame that came with this move. It was the first time that I felt the sting of being a single parent. No one to lean on. No one to help me weather this financial storm. I was haunted by the voices of my more conservative friends: 

'You give too much. You're going to regret it someday.' 

'Take care of your own..you can't save all of them.'

'How can you possibly adopt again? What if you lose your job in this economy?'

Well, I don't regret all I've given this year. I calculated that, between Anya and the orphanage, I've given over $5,000 of my own money in the past 12 months. (And that is not even counting the generous orphanage donations of so many of you this year!) Pretty impressive for a single mom with a salary hovering around $36,000 a year, I'd say. And why don't I regret it? Because it's not my money anyway. In my heart of hearts I know that any money I didnt need to live on wasn't mine. You may feel different, and that's okay. But this is the heart  and mindset I was born with. It won't function any other way.

And so, yes, I find myself in quite a corner.  I've done anything and everything to salvage my own business, and watched things get worse. I've looked for work, and found none. Everytime I find a suitable teaching job in the area, it is gone before I call. I found a few elder care jobs that sounded promising, only to find I wasn't qualified, because I can't do heavy lifting. Cleaning is out because of rheumatoid arthritis. Even looked for simple babysitting jobs, but the market is saturated..so many qualified teens and college students in the area.

so I'm back to literally and figuratively knocking on doors, trying to create some school jobs for my company, and doing all I can to beef up enrollment in our summer programs. I'm finding that everyone is so strapped in the area, there just isnt room for something as 'extraeneous' as Shakespeare.

But the reason for this post is not to whine and list all the challenges I'm up against. This post is just me trying to be transparent and honest, since I know it is the most important part of having this blog. I first used it to try to be honest and transparent about raising a child with RAD. Then she grew up and didnt want me sharing quite so much. So then I tried to be honest and transparent about the struggle to bring Anya home. Then about the situation for children in orphanage #5 , and also about the horror facing those aging out of this orphanage. I guess the thing to come clean about now is my own vulnerability and how scary it is -- how terribly scary to feel so useless and vulnerable. 

Last night I was lying in bed thinking about it all, and asking God for wisdom. What came to me is what a great lesson this is for me to know firsthand the fear of poverty. I'm not stupid. I know I cannot possibly compare myself to, say, Anya or some of the people I know in Russia who struggle to have enough food for their table. My poverty is cushioned by the fact that, if worse comes to worst, I could move in with my mom or a close friend. It is also buffered by the fact that I live in a country where I can apply for foodstamps if needed. And further, that I have friends I have helped along the way, who are kindly helping me now.

So I'm trying my best to look at this experience as just another lesson. What can I learn from feeling this level of vulnerability? How can I use this experience to help others? How can I use this time to train my mind to more adeptly focus on the poitive and good? Can I teach myself to accept the unknown without this fear? I'm trying. And I'll keep trying as best I can.


  1. Anonymous8:50 PM

    I am so sorry you are having such a rough time. My mom is a single mom as well, so she knows exactly what you are going through. :( I hope it all gets better! And btw, I wrote you a message on facebook :)

  2. Anonymous9:26 PM

    I am reminded of the verse "God is not mocked, a man reaps what he sows." God sees, he hears, he KNOWS. Praying for God to open doors, provide for today as well as allow you to store up again for tomorrow. Praying for your adoption to continue and for Anya to continue to heal and come home.
    Blessings and hugs!


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