Tuesday, April 23, 2013
There are periods of crisis in the homes of the lower class. This is for the working class, who are often listed as living in general poverty. Hard times make survival even more difficult. Rising utility costs, transportation, and the high cost of food make basic needs almost too expensive.
We are in one of those periods of hard times right now. Mr. White and I are having car troubles. My car broke down last week. I have been unable to do my errands or take one of my boys to church events. Because we live in a rural area, no one can help with the driving. Mr. White has this large old van that was given to him, years ago, by a relative. I am afraid to drive it. I can only manage to drive the little cars or possibly mini-vans. So early each evening, Mr. White has offered to take me to the store. He has his own errands to do, but takes me along. He opens the door for me and buys me Pepsi. I am able to get his help in deciding what will be for dinner. My evening outings with Mr. White would not happen if I had a car I could drive on my own. This brings a blessing out of suffering.
As this past weekend began, we woke to find that our hot water heater was broken. The plumber arrived and found the damage was quite extensive. I went off to one of the rooms and watched episodes of "Seventh Heaven" on DVD while Mr. White helped the plumber. It turns out that our water heater is this pretty unit from the 1950's. We had to wait until late Monday afternoon for a specialist (in older units) to come by and pronounce it needed to be replaced. Of course, we had to pay for the service calls and still be without hot water. In a home where there are no credit cards and no debt, one would think we had plenty of money saved to pay for such events. Well, we scraped up enough to pay the service fees, but then we had to figure out how to replace the unit.
The plumber quoted us several hundred dollars. We won't be calling him back. Somehow, the men in this house (who are not plumbers) will figure out a way to buy a unit from the local hardware store (there are no Home Depots in the middle of nowhere - smiles). They will find a way to do the work themselves. We managed to borrow the money from one of our grown children. We will pay it back very quickly over the next few weeks, by scrimping and being careful.
In the meantime, I have been heating water on our electric stove for baths and dishes. This makes one grateful for running water.
This has happened right in the middle of one of my health breakdowns. I have been mostly bedridden for several days. (I really believe the chill of the cold, and fighting despair can add to one's physical woes.) Late last week, I told my boys, "I am taking a sick day. You will have to do the chores." I have been resting ever since.
Is that enough of a crisis? Of course not. . . . Our electric statement arrived with a ridiculous bill. Our wood pellet stove had broken down last year and we have been relying on electric heaters to try to stay warm all winter. It has not worked well. The cost is unbearable and we are still cold.
Somehow we will make the most of this. Living in poverty is not new to many Americans. Perhaps someone will go to the local pawn shop and sell something of value to help pay these bills. Perhaps we will go without a few more things to handle the crisis. Once the smoke clears and all is well again, we will continue to scrimp and save and build up our savings for the next emergency.
This is the adventure of living in poverty for the lower class. It is a way of life. Most of us, in this life, will have periods of seeming wealth, and of dire poverty. It is nothing new. Yet, in these moments, our helplessness leads us to the source of all comfort and wealth. It leads us to the Lord, our Father, who will care for His children. All will be well.
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