The recession finally hit my home and even with both of us working full time jobs (and me a 2nd part time job) we are barely making it. We are stretched so thin that we can hardly breathe and I feel like a failure as a provider. We have done everything we were supposed to do and yet we are still living pay check to pay check. I have a professional degree as does my wife and we both have jobs-- there are not “better jobs” to be found. We have no credit card debt and if we don’t have the cash we go without. Which sometimes means we are eating rice, canned corn and toast for dinner. Make do or do without has become my family mantra.
But, it still feels like a dirty little secret that I am carrying around.
We are flat busted broke. We are the working poor and I feel ashamed to talk about it. I feel like if we were to open up and discuss our finances openly -- especially at church -- we would be judged. We live in an area where there is hyper conspicuous consumption happening: snowmobiles, new homes, new cars for teenagers, four-wheelers, European vacations and new additions on homes and I am struggling to scrape up enough money to put gas in our cars to get us to and from work until pay-day.
Surely I am not be the only one who is struggling financially and pretending that “All is well in Zion.”
At least once a day I Google “How can I make more money” because I am convinced that if I could just bring in an extra $300 a month all of our woes would be cured. That extra money would mean the difference of eating Rice for dinner for a week and actually having a good meal. At the very least, it would take the edge off and alleviate some of the stress that we are feeling as a couple.
I’m not asking to be a millionaire -- I just want to make enough money so that we don’t have to worry anymore how we will pay all of our bills, put food on the table and provide the necessities for our growing teenage children.
I live in an affluent neighborhood where it seems like “things” are the most important to everyone. And, I suppose, maybe at one time they were to me as well. I took great pride in the fact that I was making over six figures a year and that my children wanted for nothing. But then the recession hit, my business took a nose dive and we are left with the scraps of our former lives. It has been very hard and humbling for me.
I would sell my house, but it’s not worth what we owe and I will not “just walk away” from it like so many other people have chosen to do. We will continue to push forward, carrying our dirty little secret, hoping that someday the economy will recover and we can start to climb out of the hole that we are finding ourselves in.
I am a good person -- we are a good family -- and I serve the Lord to my fullest ability and yet here we are, really really struggling. Sometimes its easy to feel like the Lord has totally forgotten about me and my family. I keep telling myself that it’s “just money”, but the lack of money is creating a hardship on my family.
The only thing that keeps me moving forward is a scripture I read one morning. I’m not sure why it spoke to my soul the way it did, but for now its the piece of hope that I am clinging to while we are wading through this financial crisis. It’s found in the Doctrine and Covenants 64:33-34 “Wherefore, be not weary in well-doing, for ye are laying the foundation of a great work. And out of small things proceedeth that which is great. Behold, the Lord requireth the heart and a willing mind; and the willing and obedient shall eat the good of the land of Zion in these last days.”
For now, there is no foreseeable end to our financial crisis and we will continue to move forward, doing our best to “just make it”. This really does feel like a silent, suffocating burden to carry but I will press forward with the courage that the Lord really is in charge of all things, including money.
About the Author: This author has chosen to remain anonymous.