One of my personal adages was: If today was the last day of my life would this matter? It was a question I asked myself whenever I found myself worrying about things out of my control.
Coincidentally, as I began writing this passage I was revisiting a podcast of “A New Earth” featuring Oprah & author Eckhart Tolle. In the discussion of the first chapter Tolle tells us one of nature’s purposes is to show us to just be (still) and we can & will continue to grow, flourish & be majestic.
I'm a firm believer that the things that happen "to" us aren't solely "for" us. The lesson(s) are designed for whoever is privy to our story; those we tell and those that witness it firsthand.
Some time ago, one of my friends and I were "going through" financially around the same time. He lost his job, fell behind in his rent, needed $400 worth of car repair, was driving around with expired tags & consequently he got tickets in two different counties. Last, but not least, he was evicted from his apartment. My other friends and I watched helplessly as he struggled to figure things out. I could only imagine how bleak things appeared to him because money was scarce & he was out of options ostensibly.
Soon after his troubles, I lost my job. The week after my job ended my rent was due. My instincts directed me to hold on to the money I had saved & earned that previous work period in lieu of paying the rent. I figured I would find some sort of means to pay the rent & the late fee that would be attached. Two months later, I found myself facing eviction, and I had no clue how I was going to get the rent paid.
I reached out to some local agencies that assist with rent and/or mortgage payments. As I went through the application process, I also applied for energy assistance to get the utilities paid. I was told the decision could take one week for the rental assistance & four weeks for the energy assistance, nevertheless, I had enough money saved to maintain the other bills, but I had no other recourse if they declined me.
The day before I was to move from the apartment, I resolved that I would simply move out before allowing my things to be thrown out. I called repeatedly for an answer to no avail. I surrendered it. I let go of that which I couldn’t control. Two hours later, I got a call from the case worker assigned to me. She said, "I have a check for you." It was enough to cover the past 2 months of rent and all the fees. Three weeks later, I got a notice from the agency explaining they applied $350 to my power bill.
My only friend that was gainfully employed at the time we were facing the most tempestuous financial times learned he was losing his job. He panicked before things became difficult. I asked, “Were you not paying attention as we were going through? Did you not learn anything from watching us? You have to adapt to whatever comes your way. Keep going.” He had already decided he was defeated before the fight began. I was reminded of something Susan L. Taylor (former editor in chief of Essence magazine) said, “You are the descendant of slaves that would not die." She continued by saying there isn't anything you'll face today that's worse than slavery. Because your ancestors survived, you live!
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