The Rest of the Days

First Posted 19-Sep-2015 A couple of things, perhaps related. This week (19-Sep-2015) I was able to transfer to my savings the last payment toward an initial emergency fund. I have mixed feelings about this. I’m happy it’s there. I’m also bedeviled by a long list of minionous desires that cackle and taunt me to take that money and do the FUB thing.

This is day two of getting used to the habit of leaving that money alone. It really is a one-day at a time thing. I love saying that I’m great at words, at talking all the right talk but where I need growth is in the walk, in doing what I say. It’s a fine thing to work toward a goal, to be down for the struggle. I feel a sense of loss, though, now that I’ve crossed the finish line. This is a new disruption, one of quiet where the old struggle to get here is gone to be replaced with a new struggle to stay here. I am quite public about painting myself as the near-do-well who never quite gets it together, bumping along, never quite dramatically failing and never quite succeeding either. A life of ten-thousand paper cuts carefully nursed so they never quite heal. To be here, with this money saved, myself accomplished at something, messes with my self-identity, my street-cred.

Nadia Bolz-Weber interviewed by Terry Gross on “Fresh Air”

This next is a bit of a tangent but it feels to me like it relates. At work, I caught an interview with Nadia Bolz-Weber on Terry Gross’, “Fresh Air”. The interview is well worth a listen. I was impressed enough to go spend some money buying Bolz-Weber’s, “Accidental Saints“. I just started reading it. What got me so excited is that Bolz-Weber validates a bunch of feelings I have about my life as a Christian. I relate a lot better to the repentant sinner than I do to the untested saint. Ronald Crosby feels more authentically Christian than Jimmy Baker. Some of my favorite Christians were my shelter-mates at C.A.R.I.T.A.S. and Freedom House. Being Christian, for me, is much more about grace and confession than it is about how many hours a day I spend in my prayer closet. Bolz-Weber’s words in her interview with Gross were really comforting.

I had a shock of recognition around 10pm last night talking to my roommate. While at work I share a hotel room with another guy. My current roommate is like a lot of folks. He was raised Christian, knows the basics and thinks the church is bullshit. The Church is bullshit in some cases. There is a lot of alleged Christianity out there that is nothing of the sort. Jesus, though, is not bullshit. Jesus is real. The shock of recognition is that I have to start giving up on my identity as a near-do-well. I’ve put a lot of work into getting my shit together. I have to start acknowledging that the hard work is paying off. It’s tough to hold the identity of homeless when I have a house. It’s tough to claim to be poor when I have a job that pays twice what I usually make. I’m a WASP, with a bloodline that is every bit blue-blooded as those who claim to be of the elite. My badge of being downtrodden isn’t looking very actual.

So, the first time I posted this I was making double what I usually make. I still had the camera-car driving job with Bing/Uber. It was a peak moment. Today, as I type this, I don’t have that job any longer. Instead of writing from a hotel room paid for by the job I’m back in my house. I’ve got “Orange is the New Black” streaming from Netflix. This is one of the low times when it will either get worse or it won’t. I said then that it is another kind of surrender I try not to think about on the way to the hour I spent at work typing this between shifts. I was exalting then, enjoying the moment, making big plans to be out of debt in three years. Then things changed.

So, a pause in the trajectory. A curve in the graph. In another manic moment when I counted myself a small business owner I listened to a member of SCORE tell me that businesses grow in an upside down “J”. They grow for a bit, reach a peak, then collapse a bit before coming around to grow again. I’m in that collapse a bit. Usually, something comes together and the collapse isn’t as bad as I fear. Usually. The one constant is that I won’t give up. This is iteration four. I don’t care how many times I have to sit through another six months as a client of a program, bottom of the “J”, starting over. I’ll do it. I won’t get back what I had before. I’ll get on my feet and build a life, again.

I crashed the blog a couple weeks ago. I don’t have a job. I went to the pharmacist today to pick up two medications. I could only afford one. And so on. Living on the walking bass line. It’s a different post this time around. The story isn’t over. The song not finished. Let’s see how it ends.