Touched by an Act of Kindness

On Wednesday I wrote “You Are Not A Rock” which was about the importance of community and our attitudes toward life. Just a day later, I experienced just how important those things are.

And this brings me to the heart of what I’ve learned from Beyond Survival: community and attitude is everything ….

[L]ife is going to swing back and forth from times of plenty and times of less. From times of pain when our disabilities really get us down or we have gut wrenching pain and times of comfort when we feel better about ourselves or have made some physical progress. Life can go from depression to ecstasy. Keeping our life in balance means having a balanced attitude… Its important for us to keep our physical and emotional needs in balance along with how we perceive ourselves and our place in life.

My husband and I are both on Social Security Disability. We make just a couple hundred dollars too much for energy assistance or food stamps (SNAP). This month we had to renew and increase a large high interest loan so we could pay for more propane which we had used up over the winter. Thank goodness the weather was mild this year or I don’t know how we would have made it. The heat and stove in our rental home run on natural gas. In order to renew the loan we first had to pay all of the back interest which was nearly three hundred dollars. After paying our other bills we were low on money.

Each month we get food from the community building/food pantry. This month they passed it out early and I was at my sisters wedding. We were lucky and there was some left but not much. By this Wednesday we were out of milk, eggs, fresh vegetables and fruit. The only meat was some pressed ham. I knew we would make it though because I was expecting a small check for a day of substitute teaching. I was still concerned about how we would make it for two weeks until pay day on $25 dollars. I took a chance and went to the store and wrote an $8 check for milk, hot dogs, and mac ‘n cheese.

Oh Universe, I prayed, help us through this.

The next day my check didn’t get deposited and we had just a few cents in the account. If we didn’t come up with the money the check was going to bounce and there would be a $25 fee. I called the school to see if there was a mistake and somehow my paperwork didn’t get processed. Teachers get paid once a month and I knew there was a cut off date between getting paid in the month you work or the next. I was sure I had made it. My heart sank when I found out because of Spring Break I had worked the day before the cut off.

Oh, Universe, how are we going to make it?

My husband and I scoured the house for spare change to cover the check. We were off by just a few cents. He remembered another charge that was going through. That would make us short another three dollars. But by then I was distraught and panicked. I wasn’t thinking clearly and didn’t understand him. I explained the charge had gone through. Not wanting to argue with me we went to the bank.

Two tellers said they could help. I followed my instinct and went to the one that “seemed right”. We made our deposit of change and she confirmed he was correct. The charges would include the check for food and the one he mentioned. We stood there silent not knowing what to do. Sympathetically she said, “Is there some way you can get just a few more dollars?” I gestured toward the change, “We all ready came us with everything we have.” I tried to breath. To find my center. But tears filled my eyes. I felt humiliated. “Why can’t I budget better? Why are we in this situation.” I quickly left the bank before I sobbed.

I stood by the car and broke down. A few moments later my husband came rushing out and threw his arms around me. “It’s okay. It will be okay. She’s putting $5 in the account for us. I said I’d pay her back but she said not to worry about it.” Later that day the teller called our home to make sure we knew our account would not be overdrawn and that we didn’t have to pay her back. Putting a few dollars into people’s accounts is something she does to help out. He thanked her and we were both relieved and touched by her kindness.

So in another way I am not a rock. I get distressed. I get worried and anxious and sometimes I quickly lose faith. Is that a fault? I can imagine me as this glowing woman of great wisdom and faith. Someone who all ways can stay calm, only has powerful words to say when she speaks. She never runs out of resources because she can all ways plan ahead and has utter faith in the Divine. After all if we believe the Gods or what ever Ultimate Reality we confide in will provide, won’t they?

I am reminded that my faith in myself and my Gods rises and goes out like the tide. Somehow I must rebalance my attitude.

About Tara Miller

Tara "Masery" Miller is a panentheist Gaian mage living in the Ozarks with her husband and pets. She's also a member of the Unitarian Universalist Church. She writes the Staff of Asclepius blog. She's also a new author and editor with Megalithica Books. If you would like to be notified when Rooted in the Body, Seeking the Soul: Magic Practitioners Living with Disabilities, Addiction, and Illness will be available please email her at tara.miller21 (at) gmail.com Donations for the blog can also be sent through PayPal to the same email.

  • Anonymous

    I have found the Universe often comes through in the nick of time, but just in the nick of time so you get to experience the maximum angst beforehand!

    Gods all bless not just our community but the larger community. I am constantly reminded that for all our troubles, the world is filled with some truly good people.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/paganswithdisabilities/ Tara “Masery” Miller

      There are times I’ve prayed and the Goddess said to me “I never left your side. It was you who felt alone.”There are good people in the world. I’m very glad to have kind neighbours on my block and to be living in the same town as family. Tomorrow will be a better day. I’m getting together with friends to play dominoes and I just accepted an invitation to conduct weekly story time at the local library. Once the vegetable garden is producing we’ll have much more food and that will truly be a blessing.

  • Nicole Youngman

    Been there–not quite that bad, but pretty close a few times. Do you know about LiHEAP?

    http://www.dss.mo.gov/fsd/liheap.htm

    Please don’t beat yourself up–so many people are dealing with the same thing right now, and in any case there is a limit to how much “good budgeting” can solve these kinds of problems that you didn’t bring on yourself. Having to go into debt just to get by sets up a vicious cycle that is SO hard to get out of.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/paganswithdisabilities/ Tara “Masery” Miller

      Thank you for the words of support and the link, Nicole. I’m sure I checked into that program before. We make just a bit too much money for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program.

      • Nicole Youngman

        Those sorts of cutoffs are so frustrating. I wish those kinds of programs were more of a sliding “if you make this much you can get this much help” instead of an either/or.


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