Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Susan and the Book

It had been a long, rough day.  All morning at the church.  All afternoon at the realty.  Expecting to spend all evening at my caregiver job.  I was trying to squeeze cooking dinner in between. 

My afternoon at the realty on phone duty had been a waste of time as usual.  I took two phone calls (which is more than the usual zero).  But nothing will come of them. 

My wasted afternoon was punctuated by being called into the closing broker's office where I was informed that, because an old credit card had won a judgement against me, my wages were being garnished.  For the record, the charges on that credit card were not boutique shopping sprees but groceries, utilities, and emergencies like tires and doctor visits.  I had planned to pay the balance eventually but I've been unable to do anything about it (even make the dinkiest payments) for long enough that they sued me.  $5100.  I can't blame them. 

I took the news well.  At first.  I'm getting pretty used to this sort of thing.  It's becoming less dire and more ordinary.

In two weeks I was due to get only my second commission check in my year and half in real estate.  No big loss, I guess.  Except that I was going to use that money to pay my overdue realtor dues and two of the three months I'm overdue on the cabin mortgage, and, in a big splurge, I was going to buy $50 worth of new towels.

The new towels were going to be a very sweet indulgence.  The old ones are ratty.  Each member of the family has chosen a color and I was planning to buy two towels in each color so that everyone could rest secure in the knowlege of having their own towels -- AND, more importantly, could learn a little responsibility in managing and washing their own towels.  Plus, it would immediately identify the culprit when wet towels are found on the floor.  At $4 each, I was planning to buy six pairs at just over $50 total.  Maybe I'll sell something so I still can.  This was important for moral, lesson teaching, and household management reasons.

Towels Heaven
More Towel Heaven

Mark had called during the afternoon to tell me that our latest RV sale had been delayed a week.  Which sets us back a week on already overdue bills and delays the purchase of new inventory for at  least two and a half weeks.  NOT what we needed.  Getting further behind invites catastrophy

I dragged into the house after work (jobs #1 and 2) to cook dinner before going to work again (job #3).  I put on a pot of water and started digging out the kitchen.  Dishes were still piled everywhere -- the residue of my weekend out of town (when I leave town, my ex-husband comes and stays with the kids.  It's just easier on everyone.  Except that he doesn't do dishes.  But that's another set of baggage.) 

As I cleared dishes and debris from the kitchen table I spotted an large envelope under a pile of that mail that I don't open because I can't oblige most of those creditors.  I excavated the envelope expecting it to be for Emily because she orders stuff off the internet periodically.  As soon as I touched it I knew it was a book.  The handwriting on the front was a familiar hieroglyphic -- my birthmother's unique handwriting that many people can't read.  The name on it was mine. 

I opened the envelope and found a thick hardback book with a gorgeous repeated print of small branches of green oak leaves and brown acorns spread on a butter yellow background.  At the center of the oak forest was the title:  Peace and Plenty: Finding Your Path to Financial Serenity by Sarah Ban Breathnach. 

Sarah Ban Breathnach is the author of Simple Abundance (think gratitude journals, the Oprah Winfrey show, and 117 weeks on the New York Times Best Seller List).  Susan sent me a copy of Simple Abundance back when it came out.  It may be part of why Sara-Grace has Sara in her name.  Peace and Plenty is the book she wrote (her third) after she lost all her money.  This is the book she wrote to dig herself out.  Which is exactly correlated to the purpose of this blog which was created for me to document how I dig myself out.

Two post-it notes inside, in the same hieroglyphic, said,

Hi Anne -
I hope you have
time to read this if you
haven't yet.  It is both
wise and cheerful

    Much love - Mom

P.S. I used it
for a Journal Ink
and have just left
my Post-its in.

Journal Ink is the journal-writing class she has taught out of her house for about 15 years.  It has a wonderful following and is truly an unequaled bonding, healing, self-exploring exercise.  One of her students even went on to publish a book (I'll add the title in here when I find it).  She also teaches Memoir Writing in the continuing education department at the University of Texas at El Paso.  And she was previously the writer/editor of the children's section of the El Paso newspaper.  Can you tell I'm kind of proud of her?  And that my writing comes genetically?

I flipped through the book, noting the passages that the post-it notes marked.  Then I just sat down on my filthy, neglected kitchen floor and cried. 

I don't cry much.  But this cry was reflexive and from the depths of my soul.  My birthmother, who has always been the earth-bound equivalent of my fairy godmother, knew exactly what I needed.  She always does.  Somehow she always sends me exactly what I need.  Out of the blue.  Just because.  I am so blessed to be the recipient of her maternal love and her great kindness and wisdom.  She is amazing. 

At the perfect moment, she reached into the depths of my despair and gave me a lifeline.  I can't think of another person on this planet that that could more rightfully have come from.  There are not words to capture the magic of it.  No, not magic.  Grace.  Pure grace.

The post-it notes marked Sections with engaging titles like:

"Well-Spent Moments"
"The Thrill of Thrift"
"Keep Calm and Carry On"
"Money - An Education in Ourselves"
"The Glad Game Revisited"
"Starting Where You Are"
"Take Another Look Around"

You will be hearing more about this.  Probably MUCH more. 

I am blessed.  And I am hopeful, in a boyant, soothing way that I haven't been in a very long time. 

So far, my favorite line in the book says, " We need to find inspiration whenever we can, because when we're spiritually tuned in, everything is a clue pointing us in the right direction."

My clues this week have been a pair of velvet roadrunner paintings and a very important book.  I think I'm about to learn a lot.

Sara-Grace and Susan

Tessa and Susan

Family mug shot: (from left) Tessa, Annie, Susan, Noah -- with Sara-Grace in front. March 2009.

No comments:

Post a Comment