Thanks to all of you who wrote such nice comments, sent emails, FB messages, and texts after yesterday’s post. I appreciate all the encouragement! One thing I love about blogging is that every time I post something that feels a little scary, I hear from you all that you feel the same way. It’s comforting to know I’m not (that) crazy.
After our month of vacation, and some upcoming big expenses, our cash flow has slowed down a bit. As a small business owner and consultant, we don’t really have a regular salary. And sometimes it’s a little scary looking out on the coming months and not knowing exactly how much money will be coming in.
Now I love security and comfort. These are my idols. So any disruption to my security and comfort makes me feel a little psychotic. Like when we run out of chocolate, for example. Jesus and I are working on that.
Living in a different culture, especially in the developing world, and dealing with money challenges feels so weird. I’m sitting here counting pennies, stressing out, while people outside my gate live on a razor’s edge of life and death. Our friends are missionaries who live on prayers. All the Christian clichés are busted. “God will provide” falls a bit flat in a land where his people starve to death.
And of course, even in our need, we are rich by local standards. One of our workers asked for a loan this morning (essentially a salary advance), which is normal and expected. It made me bristle a bit since we just returned after paying salary while we were gone (and she didn’t have to work), and we are about to pay her three months maternity leave as well.
As I tried to explain that I couldn’t give her an advance right now, but in a month when she goes on maternity leave, I will pay her for those three months up front, she looked at me quizzically. And rightly so. I’m telling her I don’t have the money right now, and I don’t think that concept is translating cross-culturally. When I say I don’t have the money, it means something different to someone who has experienced the actual reality of not having the money. She saw me pay for groceries this morning and get change in return so she knows I have some money! Caught in a lie, I suppose.
And while my American pride tells me that she should know better than to ask for an advance given the circumstances, I am reminded that we live in two completely different worlds. To her, I have an endless source of money somewhere (which is true in some ways). To me, we are struggling.
What an education! How can two people see a situation so differently and both be right? This is a bit random, and I’m not sure the point. I just find these interactions to be so fascinating as we live this weird life over here.
I owe you photos of the new house and farm. Coming soon. Time to make dinner. No matter what I do, we all still need to eat 3 times a day.