Friday, July 17, 2009

Financial Crisis

Greetings fellow Network of Love Lovers,

The last day or so has been damnright frustrating!
I struggled and struggled and struggled to find a cash machine that would allow me to withdrawal money. Thus, I have had little walking around money to speak of the last few days.

However, that is not the most frustrating part of this financial crisis. I was intending on withdrawing money to pay my host Sheila who has been wonderful enough to arrange for me to stay and live with her for several weeks, alongside two high school foreign exchange students from Spain and France, Sergio and Theo.

For the last few days, the money that should be in the hands of Sheila (most of it donated by people from my church at home who were kind enough to donate money to my pilgrimage to Lourdes, France) has been caught in the web of worldwide proportions. That is to say, the money is there in theory but not in practice. I have the funds in the account–––but I can’t access them. And after phoning my bank twice, they have concluded that there is nothing wrong with my account. Still, there is nothing they can do to help me. Chase is terribly sorry for this inconvenience they told me. Is it me or them that is the problem?

It has been frustrating and embarrassing. I feel like that person who keeps saying “oh right, I’ll pay you right away…real soon,” but who never seems to cough up the cash.

But…tomorrow is another day. Thank God for Western Unions! The money is being wired to me to a Western Union from my trustful father because that is the only way I can get money at the time (aside from using a credit card…but that gets expensive…Western Union is expensive too!). I can pick it up tomorrow mid-morning and be on my way, hopefully.

All’s well that ends well (I’ve been reading a Shakespeare biography lately…wonderful book by a historian and comedic fellow from Britain named Bill Bryson)…and I pray that this really does END well.

It’s funny…amidst this personal financial crisis I’ve really been having quite a wonderful time. Aside from today, Liverpool has been a very rewarding and refreshing experience. And I hope that after tomorrow, I can live it with fresh eyes and a feeling that I am stable financially.

While I was reading an evening prayer tonight, I chuckled to myself at the content of the particular passage (from James, chapter 1, verses 2 – 8). The author writes: “Count it pure joy when you are involved in every sort of trial. Realize that when your faith is tested this makes for endurance.” Haha…talk about faith being tested and going through a trial. I thought I was going mad not being able to withdrawal money. I thought maybe I had changed the pin on myself and done away with the password or something. But, I might as well just sit back and have a good old laugh about all of this. For what will the worrying do me? It will only make my trip less than it can be.

This trial has to give me endurance…it is just a little trial. As the saying goes, there is so much bigger fish to fry (and the fish and chips have been marvelous thus far here in England!).
There are people who don’t have anything to eat, who have been kicked out of their home. Take, for instance, the gentlemen who stopped me yesterday as I was sitting down to eat a packed lunch Sheila had made me. The man says to me he has been kicked out of his house by his girlfriend, hasn’t eaten for days, is going through some major financial struggles, etc. The lot has been cast on him and he is sinking in the Mersey River. He is looking for mercy. Whether his story was true or fabricated, I cared not. I gave him my lunch, he told me to keep the apple, and I walked a ways to the nearest pub to have myself a tuna and a pint. I pray that that man’s safe and sound somewhere tonight. It’s been raining like mad the whole day!

Sometimes, our own struggles become something so severe that they shut our eyes from some of the most spirit sucking struggles people go through on a daily basis. When we swallow our self-pill, keeping our self in check, looking out for what we need to when we need to, and then using our excess energy and God-given grace to be there for others, we are doing what Christ did; we our acting as a charitable member of the human race. When we run that extra mile, push ourselves a little further, we are living saintly, outside of ourselves, a disciple who cares more for his sister than himself.

Sheila, thus far, has been a kind of saint figure. I’ll be honest. The way she cares for the three of us living under her roof–––like a parent, a mother cares for her own children–––is incredible. It is breathtaking to see the energy she exerts on our behalf. She is showing me what it is like to be a saint. She is what I imagine early deaconesses in the church to be like–––people, women who provide others with Christian hospitality. Sheila is a living saint in my life right now, one that I am very thankful for.

The money issue, the financial crisis I am in? Well…I must remember the story of Jesus’ apostles worrying they won’t have what they need for the journey. What does Christ tell them? It will all be okay. Things will work out fine. One of Sheila’s favorite words is “okay.” She says it in this absolutely fabulous Liverpool accent. “Okay!”

Well God, make things okay today. Make things okay tomorrow. Make things okay for life. Maybe you need an okay from God today. If you do need such a thing, just ask. In faith, God will provide your okay!

Peace and blessings,

With love your friend bob : )

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