Sunday, January 22, 2012

being broke

There is thick, dark brown goo leaking from the backside of my coffee maker.

The washing machine was worse off than we originally thought. The seal was rusted, and the the motherboard was shot. We put it on the curb. On the bright side, we didn't have to call for a special trash pick up; a Sandford and Son contingent swept the neighborhood yesterday afternoon, and my trash is now their treasure.

The blinds in my bedroom don't open; the bathroom drawer doesn't shut. The exhaust fan is exhausted. The kitchen cupboards are trashed. The fridge's ice machine works well most of the time, but when it doesn't, there is minor flooding. The futon frame is split. I can't imagine why, because boys weighing 100 pounds and more hardly ever jump on it. They do jump on Luke's bed, which is why that is broke, too.

Our printer does not print.

Luke's glasses are held together by electrical tape. You can hardly notice it, really.

The only thing that doesn't suck is my vacuum cleaner. Well, it sucks, but just barely. And makes a really scary noise.

The dryer made a scary noise for awhile, but I kept ignoring it and it finally stopped. I guess it realized that around here, whining gets you nowhere.

Everything is broke. We're broke.

However, there is a big difference between being broke and being poor. Broke people are experiencing a temporary state of inconvenience, which may last weeks or years or even decades. But they just know good things are around the corner. Even though they are without money, time, or reasonable house repair ability,they convince themselves that they will dig their way out.

The truly poor don't have the options that I have. They don't have the education or safe housing. They might lack the familial support and network of friends that I'm blessed with. They might deal with prejudice, abandonment or abuse. They might be homeless, jobless, disabled or ill in body or mind.

So I'm broke. But I'm not broken - at least not in anyway that God can't heal. He renews me and strengthens me, even when I am looking at yet another car repair or trashed appliance matched with an empty bank account.

Yesterday, my baby granddaughter spent the morning at my house. She napped like an angel in my room. I peeked in to check on her, and saw that she was awake. She wasn't crying. She was cooing to herself, lost in a frothy pink and purple afghan,her cheeks rosy. I lay next to her and looked into her round blue eyes. She smiled at me, and I stroked her face. She held my hand.

Later I stopped in to see my parents. My mom told me she liked her new doctor, and I almost cried because it made her so happy. I kissed my dad on the cheek before I left, and his skin felt fragile, like my granddaughter's but in a different way. He will be 91 this Friday.

This morning I went to Mass. I watched my young sons assist as servers; John too tall for his age, carrying one candle; Luke at his side, with his curly hair and broken glasses. After church we ate donuts in the school hallway - vanilla fluff donuts. They got powdered sugar all over their faces and coats. On the way home, John, who is too tall and almost 13, told me he loved me.

I'm not poor. I might be broke, but I'm rich. Richer than any woman has a right to be.

But I'm still hoping for a little break in all the broke-ness.



Aaron Adamkiewicz said...

We don't have a printer. It was so broke I threw it out last week.

Sock Monkey Mommy said...

I just love this post. You hit the nail on the head of being alive. I have been on a search for JOY this year, and I appreciate the blessing you did by sharing this story.

Gina said...

Absolutely fabulous. I am so broke that I cannot even pay attention, but I have a wonderful husband and 6 kids. I have a house and food to eat. I have a washer and a dryer IN MY HOUSE. Most importantly, I have a Savior who thinks I am the best thing since sliced bread. I, too, am richer than y woman has a right to be.

Cathy Adamkiewicz said...

SMMommy - search for joy - love it! I'm on that journey too. We have to find it wherever we can. :) Gina, I LOVE the broke/pay attention line - it's one of my favorites! Actually I had planned on using it and I forgot! Clearly we are kindred spirits. :)

Sharen Ambrose said...

It’s admirable how you stay positive despite almost everything not going your way. Our vacuum cleaner broke before as well, so I know the inconvenience it brings. Have you checked its possible problem? It may be clogged or it could also be caused by an electrical fault. Better check it before the damage worsens.

Sharen Ambrose