The following passage is from the current book I'm reading by Sandra Kring, "Thank You For All Things." I read it last night and it really struck a chord with me. Today I am finding that it relates to my situation:
"Oh, you know your father. First saving every penny for that sawmill, then for his retirement." Oma sighs. "Isn't that the way it goes, though? We get caught up in getting ahead, planning ahead, and for what? Whatever money he could have left at this point is useless to him. What does any of it matter in the end but who we loved and how we loved them."
I just really connect with that last sentence and know that after my husband died, I often thought that exact same thing.
This morning it is was very cold (frigid, single digits) and the van's heat was not blowing out. I was forced to take it in for an inspection. Turns out to be a faulty heating blower that will be fixed for $336.00. I suppose in the grand scheme of life this is not a major setback - I mean it is under $500.00. But when there isn't a fund in place to take care of unplanned emergencies, this cost is a fortune. This next month might be the one where we are eating PB & J for dinner three times a week. I'm gearing up for that.
I had to humble myself and ask the repair shop if they could hold my check until the 1st when the pension check is deposited. They were kind enough to agree to this. For that I am grateful. But now Sam has decided that due to this unexpected cost it is not a good idea for me to visit him this weekend, which had been planned for weeks. It is cost prohibitive to make the trip since between gas and tolls, the amount I spend to see him is about $80.00. Sam reminded me that when I made the decision to have the boys stay here for the school year, it was going to be a very tight financial sacrifice to do so.
I understand and appreciate his view. But I am sad about this. Both my boys will be gone this weekend, one on an overnight field trip and the other snowboarding with a buddy. As much as I long for peace and quiet, when I'm actually alone here I end up feeling very lonely. I'll try to make the best of it by going through boxes from the storage shed, organizing my financial papers and finishing my resume so I can start pounding the pavement bright and early Monday morning in a warm van, thank goodness!
However, there is still part of me that does not think staying home is the right decision. People need to connect on an emotional and physical level and it is a challenge to maintain a long-distance relationship. January has been a tough month for me and now I won't be seeing the number one person in my life whom I rely on for support. Conversing over the phone leaves a lot to be desired.
We'll be saving $80.00 but at what cost? To have me feeling disgruntled, hurt, semi-rejected and down this weekend. To have Sam's son need to go with him to work on Sunday for at least part of the day since I'm not there. And maybe even go with him on Saturday afternoon if he is not comfortable staying by himself.
Maybe it is because I know firsthand what this author set out so wisely in words. That in the end, our relationships and love matter more than the gas money. And maybe sometimes the sacrifice has to go in the other direction. Instead of saving the money, the sacrifice comes from spending it. Having written this post, I am left with the niggling feeling that the cost of saving $80.00 won't be worth it. There will be damage from putting off seeing one another, which raises another point - sometimes you have to spend money to save money because it ends up costing more to fix something broken than maintain it in the first place.
Today I am grateful for:
1. The kindness of small business owners allowing checks to be held til the 1st.
2. The fact that the needed van repair was only $336.00 - it could have been worse.
3. The warmth of hot towels fresh from the dryer.
4. The sun which made a pleasant appearance after hiding under the covers most of the month.
5. Electricity. As much as I am getting into burning candles, thank goodness I'm burning them with lights on and that I don't have to read by candlelight!