Money is my weakness. Not the great desire for it, though envy does most definitely arise, but the presence of financial security. The world seems to be falling apart. While Madeleine L'Engle wrote that 'sometimes it is good to remember that it has always been this bad.' it does not feel good. Not today. Not when I am looking at my bills. Looking at the need.
Everyone is in need: body, spirit, mind, love and even economy. Lately I have let my weakness overcome me. It has scared me to the point of tears and frustration. I have let it control me, let myself be mean to people I love because I had let something that is both tangible and intangible take over the space I need in my mind for love and for the effort of accomplishments.
What do we do when we have no safety net? What do we do when we do not know what to do. Yesterday this phrase came into my mind and now I think I know why: "The best thing I know is my not knowing what to do." And it is the best thing I know about this. I do not know what to do. And knowing that does not bring me comfort but it can help me find peace. There are things that will go. Things that I like, some that I need. But they can go. I look at them and think, but it is not much money I will save when I cut them out - but it is groceries and gas money. It is getting by money.
I have been reading about prayer. About prayer and what feels unanswered. It feels like the world is going unanswered. The economy is sinking so many and it feels like it is happening everywhere. Aid is being cut. Families are going hungry. More families are losing their resources, the percent of children and families in poverty grows. And I live in fear of anything like that occurring. Happening to us or our loved ones. But what does prayer mean in this?
Perhaps it is the same thing it means in praying for someone with a terminal illness. Sometimes a miracle will occur but others, and more often, the kind of miracle we want - the physical one - will not. And the people we have prayed for do die.
My friend and I were recently writing about the place of God in our lives and he shared the journey that brought God into his. And much like what I have been reading of late he wrote:
"Life is not without its' twists and turns but it is in the storms and hard times that make us who we are. It is in the midst of our darkest hours when we see truly what God can do and what we are truly made of. If we never hurt we would not trust God to heal us, if we never wanted we would never know that God can provide, if we were never lonely we would not know that God is our closest friend."
I have scarcely let myself cry for months now. Trying to learn to control the tears in hopes of being able to control them at times that it is better not to cry. But that means I have not let myself weep. Jesus cried out to God asking why he had forsaken him, telling us that we can cry out to God. We can cry out, we can silently let words and love and needs fill our hearts.
Or we could sit. Pretend that these things will pass or that we, as vulnerable and broken people, can control it all. I see that I cannot. So I will pray. I will not expect answers or sudden amounts of money, I will still hope for things to stay safe. But mainly I will hope for what my friend said above, that in the end of the hour or the day God can be my closest friend. And it will be okay for me to cry.
10 months ago