Nothing Left But Faith

I’m home, out of almost everything, with nothing left but faith. Do what? The only thing left to do is pray. Between now and July 5th bills come due for electricity, water, sewer, trash, rent, a car payment, and car insurance that was canceled for non-payment. This is a repeating cycle for me. When it’s bad it’s every few days. When things are better it’s every few months. The first time was third grade in 1967.

His name was Eric. He lived down the street in a brick rancher. Eric and his friends were my bullies. Three times a day I had to figure out how to subvert their plans to beat me up–walking to school, at recess, and walking home. Recess was the hardest because there wasn’t any place to hide. To and from school I changed up my route home so that I was never where they thought I’d be.

Today, I have this to say about bullies. They are afraid of their victims. The answer for victims is to defeat the bully by exploiting the bully’s fear. Best case the bully’s desire for aggression can be defeated and there is never a fight. Some aggressors, though, insist on getting their ass beat. It ain’t right and there will be punishment, but I can understand a victim choosing to accommodate the bully’s ask.

This Door Closed

As I write this I have no income. Uber deactivated my account in early June because of an accusation that I asked for sex from a passenger. Uber’s adjudication process does not allow them to reveal identifiable detail of an accusation. Their Trust and Safety team is very careful not to give out details that would make doxing of a victim possible.

I got into a dispute with three passengers. The issue was whether I would stop at a store on the way. Lately, I refuse to make multiple-stop trips. I pick you up, I take you to the destination, done. These three were not having this. We argued for a few minutes. I told them their choice was to get out or ride with me to my house. At first, the guy wanted to ride to my house. Then they decided I was kidnapping them. So I pulled into a gas station to let them out. Two of them got out and a third decided to stay in the car. She would not leave.

The argument continued for a few more minutes. The guy started threatening to beat me up. I remember him approaching me. There is a gap in my memory after that. The next thing I remember is driving alone down Williamsburg Road towards my house. I had a split lip, skinned knees, and a sore shoulder. So much for de-escalation.

No Visible Open Doors

That was almost a month ago. I had a little cash on hand. The rental car I had so that I could work was due for contract renewal. It’s a rental through Uber so without an Uber account I can’t rent the car. I returned the car last week. I’m still waiting for a status on my background check.

Let’s say Lyft clears my background and I am eligible to drive. I don’t have the $450.00 I need to rent a car for the first week. My Subaru? It has body damage which disqualifies it for TNC work. It also burns oil–a lot of oil. TNC work would kill it. Third, GEICO and Progressive both said they would not insure the Subaru for TNC work. I’m good with that.

Nothing Left But Faith So Trust and Obey

Whack-A-Puter? My old trade? Getting hired takes time. Getting paid takes a couple of weeks beyond the hire date. It’s 6/22/2021 as I write this. I have 13 days to pay the electric bill, utility bill, rent, car payment, and car insurance that was canceled for non-payment. Were I hired today my first check would come too late. I know, “nothing beats a failure but a try.”

What about money due from my Dad’s estate? That’s such a frustrating thing. My Dad passed away on 12/5/2019. That’s about a year and a half ago. Linda is the executrix of my Dad’s estate. She closed out his retirement accounts and some annuities. These paid me about $30k. Then she sold the house. It is money from the sale of our house that I am waiting for. That windfall would go a long way to getting my ass out of yet another sling. What’s up with it? I don’t know. Linda has been mute for 19 months.

For my sanity, about a year ago, I decided to act as if the money was not coming and I had to make it work on my own. “Only desire Christ” was the motto behind the choice. It’s a great motto while it isn’t seriously tested. Times like now? Ouch. Yes, I desire Christ. I also desire not to face eviction in a few weeks.

Faith Wordle Nothing Left But Faith

Whistling in Darkness

And I was doing ok until almost a month ago. I can heal from a split lip. Losing my sole source of income? That still hurts. This morning there was $12.00 available in my checking account. I’m able to add $80.00 to that by cashing out what’s left of the IRA I got from my Dad. $92.00 to take care of me until . . . who knows?

In a crisis, my mode is to throw everything at the wall and see what sticks. I keep asking myself, “have I done everything possible to get through this?” If not, there is more to do. I started this piece yesterday. There were two things left to do: beg my sister for the rest of the money from my Dad’s estate and pull any available cash into my checking account. Both tasks are complete. There is nothing left but faith.

Faith is nuts. Faith is trusting God to take care of us, Hebrews 11:1, “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” Also, Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” An unseen entity we can’t prove exists, known from a 2700-year-old collection of religious texts, tells us in Isaiah 50:10, “Who among you fears the Lord and obeys the voice of his servant? Let him who walks in darkness and has no light trust in the name of the Lord and rely on his God.“. Crazy.

Circular Absurd

Crazy, yes. So much of following Christ is absurd. It’s not rational. The logic is circular. Yet in 300 years of searching for empirical answers, some questions remain unanswered. Instead, Science has had to admit that some answers are mystical. Some answers require faith.

I’ve got nothing left but faith. This isn’t natural for me. Engineer father, social worker mother. I was taught that there is an empirical answer. I just need a plan to execute. Stay still, pray and have faith? That’s absurd. This feels like a moment when absurd is the answer.

There is no plan. I’m שבעה יושבת (sitting shiva). Hope comes from remembering that over 50 years I’ve been here before. Each time I go through this I come through it ok. Sort of. Ok has meant jail time, time living in a shelter, and nights sleeping in my car. Every time things have to get bad enough before it gets better. My favorite example is the Darlene story. My miracle came from a recovering crack addict who managed her money better than me.

Fog Forecasted

I hope the story remains consistent. Being idle this long has me filled with doubt. I wonder if the vision for myself and my company is what God envisions for me. Maybe I am retired and don’t know it. If I am retired, what are my vision, mission, and purpose? This week I am back on pace with almost one post per day in this space. On my art table is an unfinished painting Left with time on my hands I started writing and painting. Whether this is God’s vision for me is up for grabs. It is my thing I go to when progress on everything else is stalled. Art doesn’t pay well so if I am retired I still need income. Not knowing how I’ll maintain what I have provokes anxiety.

The anxiety is strong. My fears and failures are showing me the night I spent on a bus bench waiting to ride home. The thing about that night is that I could have walked home. The walk would have been miserable. Sleeping on a bus bench was miserable. I chose bus bench misery. Thinking back, walking would have been better.

If there is a lesson in this piece it is this: faith and works go together. Moldering on a couch binge-watching Netflix awash in self-pity can’t last forever. Yes, pray, trust, and obey. Also, take care of yourself. Do the little needful things that need doing. Keep looking for things to throw at the wall and see if they stick. Something will come together and bring you (me) to the sunrise side of your present misery.