I don’t know about everyone else, but personally I know this year started on a very low note. I hate to say it out loud but that’s a fact. It hasn’t been so just for me, but even for my whole family. Things have been pretty messy. And by messy I mean the rock-meet-bottom kinda messy.
I even feel like I forgot how it feels to be truly happy, because when I will myself to forget, even if only for a few minutes, the things happening around me, something just happens and it knocks me back down; reminds me of the harsh reality.
Basically, all these problems my family and I are having are mainly financial. Their genesis was mom quitting her job more than a year ago. As it is, she was the sole bread winner, and I say ‘sole’ because even though dad has always earned more than her, he just never helped out much; therefore everything that required money had mom digging into her purse. All dad did was pay the mortgage and pay our school fee; but that had stopped at some point.
Before mom quit her job, there had been lots of tension at her work place. The company she was working for had started closing down some of their branches so employees were just being dismissed arbitrarily; without due notice or any valid reason. We figured it wouldn’t be long before mom was also shown the door in the process of resizing; it was only inevitable given how things were going. When she consulted my sisters and I, we agreed it was best she quit before they humiliated her.
We knew life wouldn’t be easy if she quit, but we had figured she was going to lose her job either way and if she waited for them to throw her out she would leave the company she had worked for, for about fifteen years with her dignity frayed. That we couldn’t let happen, because then she wouldn’t be able to claim any benefits without seeking a court’s intervention; a process which would require her to pay for the legal services.
Eventually she did and since then it has been a downhill turn. A few weeks before she quit, she started her own business, when she’d taken her annual leave. She invested most of her savings in it but the fledgling business remained our main source of income. Sadly, the expenses far outweighed the income and on 31st of last month, while we were preparing to cross over to the New Year, she closed up.
The worst part about all this is that though my sisters and I are perfectly capable of working, getting jobs has been the perfect definition of a mission impossible. But that story I’ll save for another day because again it’s too depressing. One would wonder where dad has been when all this was happening but the truth is he’s just been too caught up in his own world, imbibing mostly.
What saddens me most is that he’s still the same person he’s been since we were kids; too stingy with his own money. He doesn’t invest in something unless he feels it benefits him somehow. Buying something as basic as food doesn’t count as important in his books, so now that mom’s out of work and he’s the only one making money, he gives us money only when he’s in a good mood; which happens once in a blue moon.
Before mom closed down her business, I had thought a lot about it, wondering how we were going to survive but then I thought, this far my family and I have come has been made possible by God. Ergo, there would be no need to worry. Even when we have very little or nothing to eat, I think of this situation we’re in as the desert the Israelites were stuck in when God rescued them out of Egypt. He provided them with manna. It wasn’t the best food, but it kept them from starving.
Things have been so bad because dad never gives freely and when anyone of us asks for something, he’ll just snap. About three weeks ago he came home one morning at six, drunken silly and he said we were all like birds, always waiting open-mouthed for him to feed us. Personally, I was hurt by those words because he said it, knowing how much we’ve struggled. However, I felt most for mom. She’s laboured for years, just to see this family’s needs catered for, and now that things aren’t going too well for her, he insults her in such a belittling way.
It’s true; I feel we’ve hit rock-bottom. Every new day that comes is another one for us to keep pushing on; trying to jump all the hurdles, lined up on our way, which feel unbearably many and awfully steep; but every time I remind myself to hold on, because as long as God reigns, there is hope.
About two Sundays ago, we were celebrating the baptism of Christ. The priest said a baptism signifies a new beginning; leaving behind the old life and taking up a new identity as a child of God. He further said that this is a year of restoration. All that had been lost, God will restore; and every little thing that has caused us pain will be fixed.
Furthermore, this is the year of the Divine Mercy; a Holy year of Mercy.
That is the message I’m sharing with you all. The year might have gotten off to a bad start, but that’s not reason enough for us to get discouraged, because God’s got our problems, all in control.