By Candace Chellew-Hodge
“It’s in giving that we receive.”
-Prayer of St. Francis, 13th century saint
“When you give, You begin to live, You get the world.”
-“You Might Die Trying” Dave Matthews Band, 21st century musical group
I have what some people might call “issues” around money. I grew up in a fairly middle class family, the daughter of a Southern Baptist preacher who apparently did pretty well for himself. We always had nice houses, nice clothes, nice toys – all the amenities of the American middle class.
It all fell apart when I was nine. My dad, who had left the pulpit to take a job as a chaplain for a major hotel chain, met another woman on one of his many out-of-town trips. He came home that last time, broke it off with mom and was gone. Shortly thereafter, our middle class followed him.
Mom had spent her life caring for five children, being the good pastor’s wife – giving up her own career for his. Now, without his support, she took what jobs she could – McDonald’s, housekeeping – anything to keep a roof over her head and the heads of the two children left at home.
It wasn’t enough.
The mortgage company came calling. Suddenly our subdivision paradise wasn’t ours anymore. The bank evicted us. We landed in a public housing project in an apartment too small for three people. Mom and I shared a bed for years until they found a bigger apartment for us.
To my pre-teen mind, the world had ended. Expelled from the Garden of Eden, I went to work when I was thirteen and have been paying my own way ever since. Money was scarce which meant things were scarce – toys, clothes … food.
We never went hungry. We were never homeless. My mother’s faith was often all any of us had. She would praise God for anything that we had a meager dinner, hand-me down clothes, just enough money for the rent. From her, I learned that God does indeed provide and that we should always be grateful for anything that we have, whether it’s creamed tuna or filet mignon.
But, mom also instilled in me a precarious relationship with money. I recall that once I was out on my own, it seemed that I could never get ahead. I’d have a little money and then something would happen – the car would break down, the cat would get sick, some unexpected bill arrived in the mail. It always seemed that I had just enough to always cover whatever emergency arose. >>More
From Whosoever Magazine – http://www.whosoever.org/
Whosoever: An Online Magazine for GLBT Christians