Last year around this time, Jesse and I had a couple of hard months. We cut off our Internet bill and at the worst moment I had to call and get an extension for the electric bill and for the car payment fully knowing that all an extension would do is buy us more time until the inevitable. We ate our cupboards bare and for the last hoorah, I was able to take a couple potatoes, the last remnants of milk, cheese, and make potato soup.
Jesse came home from work and the weight of the world just felt heavy that night. We didn’t know what the future held; how we could possibly keep going in that moment. But we didn’t talk about it. We didn’t say a word. We sat down together as a family and watched Lord of the Rings and ate our potato soup. We made comments about how good it was (to this day I don’t know if we were kidding ourselves) and I remember, distinctly, Jesse putting his arm around my shoulder and kissing the top of my head. It was then I realized that for some ridiculous reason I wasn’t afraid. I thought I was losing my mind. What was this I was feeling? Happiness? Contentment? Hope? Peace? You’ve got to be joking.
It was because of this moment where I didn’t feel afraid, and refused to talk over and over about our problems, that my mind started swimming with ideas while Jesse’s arm was wrapped around my shoulder. “You know, I could sell that appliance. I could call this person and ask if they have work for me. I could sell that skill. I could jump on that opportunity. I could call that number and rearrange some things.”
And that’s exactly what happened. Today our lights and internet are on and paid up, our car never got repoed, our pantry is stocked, and our rent is paid. We made it. We’ve made it so many times. And we’ll keep making it.
You may ask, how many times will I have to keep keeping on, Sandi? How many times will I have to keep hoping for the best when there is nothing around me that looks the least bit hopeful? How many times will I have to believe that tomorrow is a new day? How MANY TIMES will there be more month at the end of the money?
The truth is, I don’t know. I have no idea how many times you’ll have to keep going when you don’t think you can take one more step. I have no idea how many times you’ll have to figure out how to make potato soup out of your hard time.
All I know, is that life has a funny way of going on even when you can’t. Life doesn’t care about how dark your night is, the sun will still rise in the morning. And even though you may feel lost and afraid, I can tell you that as much as there is to be feared in this world, there are reasons to hope in greater abundance.
Describing the problem doesn’t solve the problem. Complaining about the potato soup doesn’t change the fact that you still have to eat it. It’s okay to be upset, and it’s okay to feel whatever you feel, but eventually we have to move from describing the problem to figuring out how we can solve it. Once we get to that point, nothing can stop us. N.O.T.H.I.N.G. Nothing.