For the past month our family has been walking through what I have come to describe as a financial famine. Our money flow slowed down to a little trickle after Christmas and keeping everything going is taking more care and attention. This has meant more trips to the local food pantry and fewer trips to the grocery store. It means a lot less meat in our meals. It means making more things from scratch like ginger beer, kumbucha and bread. One of the last art sales just before Christmas was to a young urban farming couple who did a barter exchange; produce for woodblock prints. That food is still making its way into family meals a month later. On a deeper level our current walk through the wilderness has made us much more aware of our total dependence on God.
As I watched our savings melt away I began to be eaten alive by anxiety. It felt like we were losing control of our lives and sliding towards some version of oblivion. There is something that happens to me when the money goes away that cuts me to the quick of my soul in a way that nothing else does. It just makes me feel so vulnerable when we are poor. A little more than a week ago my anxiety gave way to a deep peace. Some how I knew that we would be alright. Nothing in our external situation had significantly changed but something inside my heart had shifted. It happened one Saturday afternoon when my wife Brenda lost her patience with me over a certain sentence that was becoming my mantra. I had been saying: "I don't know how long I can do this." That morning she helped me realize that I had to stop saying that because it was poisoning our family atmosphere. The truth is different than what I had gotten used to thinking and saying.
As soon as I apologized to Brenda and committed to change my attitude my soul transmission shifted gears into overdrive and I stared to get traction again. I began to see how good it is to be in a vulnerable place for the way it keeps you human and for the way it brings your heart up to the surface of everything that makes life worth living. We try so hard to not need anybody and to stand alone but we were meant to be deeply woven into the fabric of community and the loom that fabric is woven on is powered by vulnerability. When our world is rocked by crisis and we feel like we are loosing it, that is when we need to reach out for help. When our resources dry up that is when God's resources are unleashed and life starts to get really interesting. Arrogance is traded in for humility. Self sufficiency gives way to interdependence. Our hearts grow a new chamber and our vision goes from black and white to color.