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struggling, and asking, and this may get messy

blog

all but the cats write here ... to remember, to share, to mumble, to shout ... follow along by RSS or email if you like.

struggling, and asking, and this may get messy

bethany

i've been all over the map in the last few weeks, and rather than just saying so, i've been trying to post yay-progress! kind of things about getting packed and closer to our current (hoped for, I'll-lose-it-if-we-don't-get-out-of-here, please God work it out by then) departure date of Dec 21st.  happy things.  of which there are many (did we mention getting the camper enough times yet?!) but I'm still struggling with the details.  the setbacks to whatever schedule I'd hoped for last week, or the week before, or the month before that.  and feeling guilty that I'm not still giddy over the camper, but am still feeling impatient about getting on the road. 

we got the camper thanks to the art sale, and i'm still in a bit of awe over all that.  and in a bit of an emotional ditch that I'm having trouble getting out of, as a result.  let me try to explain. 

i grew up in a church ("the meeting") where my dad started running the main church publishing house when i was 7.  we went from a 9-5 working-dad household, with a "normal" job where the income was comfortable enough, to one where the income was significantly lower, the hours longer, and the means to anything beyond the very basics of survival randomly arrived in the form of "fellowship" sent to the business to share amongst those doing the Lord's work.  it was known that the salaries were low, so many folks in other assemblies would send money to help cover the gap.

i took some measure of pride in my dad's new role, and my own martyr role began to take shape nicely.  we didn't have money for this, couldn't afford that, weren't allowed to do THAT, because we were special.  things we wore, and had in our home, had to be suitably non-frivolous so they weren't seen by visitors as a waste of the Lord's money.  we made do with what dad earned, the occasional gifts, and mom's magic with making things stretch.  i didn't really lack for anything, or feel poor, but i felt tied up.  tied up by the perceived judgement of every person that came into our home or saw me at church, deciding whether we spent the money given to us for the Lord's work wisely.  properly.  modestly.  gifts, with strings.  imagined strings in many cases i'm sure, but i was taught that they were real, or at least should be assumed to be real.

i'm getting to the point, i promise.  (and having trouble imagining actually hitting the publish button on this post.)  i don't know how to ask for help.  and i don't know how to accept gifts.  i feel obligated in some way to pay back, give back, even it out ... find something I can do to take the claustrophobia out of the strings that i still think might be attached.  the judgements about how i use it.  why i want it.  assuage the guilt of needing anything from anyone.  the shame i felt as a kid (that i wasn't allowed to do so many things, and was so visibly different from all my peers) got twisted into pride of being special, because i didn't know what else to do with it.  i hated that our lifestyle was tied to the generosity of others.  that it resulted in subjecting myself to the unseen judgement of every person i encountered, whether i heard it directly or not.  they had a right.

so the fact that we got a camper thanks to a crazy successful art sale?  it's dangerously close to making me feel tied up with strings again, because idiot me can't help but assume that everyone that bought stuff did so out of charity.  i know they (you!) got cool art, and it was a totally fair transaction, but it still makes me twitch. 

and then i post on FB about my kitchen pans not fitting in the new mini-oven in the camper, and a friend kindly suggests that we hold a 'camper warming party' for ourselves, making a gift list of the things we need for the new digs.  i instantly loved the idea (nesting bowls! toilet deodorizer pellets! smallerized cookie sheets! a magnetic knife holder!) but i couldn't conceive of asking people to buy us anything.  ASKING for something.  shudder.  it's part of the same trap for me, it hits the same buttons, the same fears, the same guilts that i thought i'd left behind.  you're weak, and you'll give everyone a right to judge you.

-----

michael and i have been round and round the mulberry bush on how to finance this trip, both in the Getting on the Road phase, as well as the While we Travel phase.  living on faith.  going without a fixed plan.  working wherever we can, and hoping that the paying jobs will cover enough so that we can do lots of unpaid jobs also, wherever the help is needed.  not wanting to be forced to pick and choose jobs based on how much we can make. 

we also want to work as a family, not relying entirely on my web design skills or michael's art to cover the basic monthly expenses like food, gas, campsites, storage unit, cell phones, vehicle maintenance and insurance, etc.  michael and i work well together, and the boys are learning to pitch in and be part of a team.  we'd like to keep it that way. 

we also need to have some kind of residual income trickling in that will help take the weight off of having to cover the necessities, freeing our work time up for whatever needs we find to fill.  so is it diesel-powered turbo snail t-shirts on cafe-press?  art prints?  online art lessons?  we're still struggling to figure it out, and time is getting short.  the seats-of-our-pants are getting a little ragged.  the departure looms.  the truck needs one issue fixed before we can go, and the estimate came in 3x higher than i was expecting.  the list goes on, life goes on, and those needs are always going to crop up.  how do we bring in roughly two grand a month without major time investments?  we don't know yet. 

in the mean time, guilt be damned, there's an updated desires page, and a wish list on Amazon, should you feel like checking either one out.

onward ...

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