“Do we need to get there when it starts?” I asked, calculating the time I had between the event we were just coming home from and the next one.
“I don’t want to sound like a jerk, but what have we been on time for this week?”
His friendly tone kept him safely outside jerk territory, which is probably why I named three events we had been on time for instead of taking the implied (and generally accurate) point.
After listening to a few minutes of my babbling and justifications, he said, “We’re way past the point I was trying to make. But these “wins” you’re listing? Those were all things without an official start time. We could have shown up any time.”
Exactly, I thought but had the sense not to say. In my mind, those were wins. For Mike, we’d still arrived later than planned, causing unnecessary stress.
There are several minor but recurring disagreements we have, all revolving around time. Nothing stresses Mike out more than being late. Me? I like to be exactly on time, to the minute. But, you know how that goes – one missed light and on time turns to late.
I always enjoy linking up with Anne of Modern Mrs. Darcy to share what I’m reading, and get inspired by what others are reading! She calls it Twitterature because the idea is to share short, snappy book reviews, a la Twitter. Here’s what I’ve been reading this month:
One More Thing: Stories and Other Stories by B.J. Novak
This debut book of short stories from The Office‘s B.J. Novak was touching and laugh out loud funny throughout. I shrugged off some stories, but really enjoyed most. I listened to the audiobook read by the author, which I recommend. You can learn more on the book’s website.
Born Standing Up: A Comic’s Life by Steve Martin
Apparently I’m on a comedian kick. This memoir says so much about the loneliness, anxiety and straight out grind it takes to make art, particularly when you art means eliciting laughs from a crowd night after night. The writing itself is entertaining and tells not just the facts, but the truth.
Traveling Mercies: Some Thoughts on Faith by Anne Lamott
This memoir has been on my list forever, too. I’m early into Lamott’s twisting path toward faith, but already recommend it.
…because sometimes you have to revisit the high brow literature of your English major roots. Or study a really great short story writer. The answer is C, both of the above.
What have you been reading lately?
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Paying off debt has been a huge part of our lives for the past two years. We are on track to be debt free this year, and I thought it’d be valuable to share some stories about our journey. It won’t be all I write about, but I’ll sprinkle these posts in over the next few months. I hope it will be encouraging, and point to the goodness of our God.
After spending the first few years of our marriage accruing student loan debt while Mike worked full time on his PhD, we made it to Charleston where Mike’s shiny new job awaited.
We felt like we’d been holding our breath, anticipating relief on many fronts when we left the dust of the Phoenix desert behind. It didn’t take long for us to realize that the road ahead would require more strength, sweat and tears than the one we’d just walked.
Student loan repayment would start in six short months. I had kept loose track of our finances before this point, knowing occasional sums of cash in our checking account were borrowed, but never looking at the overall balance.
My breath caught in my throat when I saw the balance for the first time. I couldn’t have put it into words, but at that moment, I knew in my bones that this was serious, a burden and shackle that would own us until we broke free.
My stomach sank as I watched choices and options I thought were on the table disappear.
Discouraged would be a gracious way to convey how I felt. More accurate would be cheated, angry, and self-pitying.
I felt like this was the point that things were supposed to improve, when our sacrifices would pay off. I felt entitled to a nicer place to live.
I felt angry at Mike for naively accepting these student loans right before we got married, for insisting on a newer car that came with payments.
I was mad at myself for going along without asking questions, regretful for every dollar of borrowed money we’d spent on anything but the essential.
Photo by Caroline Ro
I spent most of my childhood and adolescent years believing that the best way to handle fear was to deny its presence.
Denying fear doesn’t make it go away any more than denying your garbage can is full makes the stench disappear.
I can only be set free from fears I know are there.
I used to see admitting fear as a sign of weakness and denial of God. Now I think it’s the bravest thing we can do, and sets us on the path toward freedom. I hope that sharing my biggest fears will help you acknowledge your own, and that we’d both find freedom.