March 7, 2012

facing the dragons

I can be a lousy wife and a hypocrite. I've known that for a long time, but I've decided the time has come to admit it to you.

I'm not sure how to tell you about this other than to go back to the beginning and work my way forward, OK?

Until I was 8 my life was very comfortable. We had a largish home, a big yard, plenty of food; the only thing that ever frightened me were the thunderstorms that blew by every spring and summer.

All that changed when my parents divorced. I never went homeless, (as in, no roof over my head) but things did change. I've written about all that before so I won't go into it now. Just know that from that moment there were a lot of changes and I don't think I felt truly safe or stable for a very long time.

Fast forward maybe 30 years? One day, (however many years later it was) when our two oldest sons were teenagers I decided the time had come to teach them how to budget. What better way than to use our bills and our check book to do it? So, I gathered everything together, grabbed a notebook and pencil and the 3 of us sat down to begin Budgeting 101. We wrote down each bill we had, and looked at my husband's pay stub. We wrote the totals down, subtracted the bills from the income and... I freaked. How on earth were we making it?? How did we buy groceries or gas for the car? There was no way it matched up and there was no money left after the bills. In fact, there were bills left over that seemed to require ignoring.

I'm ashamed to admit that was the end of our budgeting class for a few years. I think a lot of the fears I'd had growing up exploded inside and something popped. I dismissed my little class and sat shivering in my boots. That night when my husband came home I felt two things. Great admiration for his ability to juggle all our plates and keep us fed, and shear terror thinking about the dragon he faced and fought every day. I handed him the bills, stuck my head in the sand and told him the bills were his problem. I couldn't face them. I couldn't deal with it. It was literally overwhelming. (See? A lousy wife and a hypocrite.)

Overnight I became what you might call a typical 40's type housewife. I drew a line in the sand and defined our roles-my husband brought home the bacon and I cooked it. Where it came from was of no concern of mine. I couldn't think about it.

Well, last year I finally started thinking about my tendency to stick my head in the sand, and that my husband is 50 plus, and the fact that I had no idea how to pay a bill anymore. It's all done online with things like debit cards and passwords. I had no idea what those passwords were or how frequently some of the bills got paid, or even what bills we have. What if something happened to my husband and I had to take over and pay those bills? What would I do? A few months ago we finally sat down together and wrote it all out. Each bill, when it comes, and its little password. I put all that in a notebook and then guess what I did? I stuck my head in the sand again and stopped thinking about it. Money and bills and business type phone calls freak. me. out.

That's OK with my husband. He's used to handling all that alone, and even prefers it that way.

But, now we have a new dragon to face and it's one my husband doesn't have time to fight alone. The adoption dragon. He is frightening and overwhelming and huge. He requires a lot of business type phone calls and is going to be asking for a lot of money. The last few weeks have been really, really difficult for me because I'm having to face that dragon. I'm having to look at him, and talk to him, and admit he's there. I can't stick my head in the sand.

I'm not sure what it is with money and official phone calls. I trusted the Lord with our sons as they were growing up. I was able to lay their sins and struggles in His lap and leave them there. I gingerly trusted Him with their education and what happened to them after they graduated. It wasn't always easy, but I managed to tip-toe through those things without burying my head. But money and those important phone calls? Why is it so hard to lay this dragon in His lap?

Please tell me I'm not alone. Tell me you have dragons to slay and you don't always feel like slaying them. Are you a hypocrite if you have hypocritical areas in your life?

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