I was 34 years old. After over 2 years of intense spiritual study, I was living with my 2 teenage daughters. I was now a single mother, working back in the world of mortgage banking. My income just barely covered our expenses and there was absolutely no financial room for extras or emergencies. I had no savings, no credit cards and no other financial resources.
Then, one day, the clutch went out in my car. The estimate for repair was $400.00.
My daughters and I lived quite a distance from the downtown area, which insured a nicer, quieter environment, but did not give us access to public transportation. We lived a substantial distance from my daughters’ school and from my workplace. Driving was a necessity.
Four hundred dollars does not seem like a lot of money. Yet when you don’t have it and you don’t have access to it, it is WAY a lot of money! I was completely shaken. I could not fathom what this might mean. I went out and sat on my front porch and searched and searched inside of myself for a solution.
As I was searching I began to drop deeper into a state of resignation and disbelief. I could not believe that I was in this position. I had always felt very confident around working and making a living. And, I felt very spiritually adept. Even so, here I was, simply unable to figure out how to produce $400.00.
I began a serious discussion with myself about who I was, where I was on my spiritual path, and what it all meant. I started by looking back on my life. I was raised, what would be called, ‘lower income’. Okay, poor. We always had food and a roof over our head, but that was it. No extras. No closets of clothes. No vacations. No expensive toys or gadgets. Although not having money affected my sister negatively, my brother and I created a perception that we did not care if we were rich. We decided that it was ‘bad’ to be rich. We decided that importance should never be put on income, but on the quality of character. We decided that a spiritually advanced person would not seek wealth, because rich people were simply ‘not nice.’ We decided that ‘spiritual people’ were poor.
Once I grew up, I certainly wanted to be rich. I really wanted to be able to provide my children with so much more than I had. In many ways, I did. However, even reviewing life through my 20’s, I found that there were countless times that I was in this position. A financial emergency. Not enough to pay rent. Buy diapers. Pay the car payment. I had experienced this feeling of hopelessness so many times. My adulthood did mirror my childhood. I never experienced any type of financial generosity from any direction. While this could have been somewhat of a sore point, when it bothered me, I would remind myself what an incredible strength I possessed as a provider for my family and my strength in life in general and I would tell myself that this strength came, because I had to do everything on my own, with no overt help from anyone.
Back to the story. While this circumstance did make me angry, mostly I was stunned. Why? Why again? What was it that I had to learn? As I reviewed my life, part of me reminded myself that every single difficult moment had been overcome. I had paid all the rent I ever owed, paid every car payment, and had always had diapers and food for my children. That part had to ask my other part why I was freaking out at all? At the same time, it did not change the fact that I needed to create a miracle.
I did not have anyone that I felt I could call for a loan. Well, one person. And I so did not want to call him, because I knew the answer would be no and I would be disappointed. But, at the end of my deep inner discussion, as no solution revealed itself, I swallowed my pride and made the call. No surprises. The answer was no. There it was. The end of the possibilities of solutions.
At this point, I dove straight into whatever spiritual principles I had learned that might apply. After a desperate inner search the only one I located was ‘surrender’. Truly, I thought –
Knowing that it was simply a part of my spiritual path, my karma, my life circumstances, perhaps my destiny, I asked myself what it would mean if I accepted this life pattern as my fate. It looked pretty discouraging.
But, at some point, the alternative looked worse. The alternative looked like a life full of worry, fear, disappointment, and deprivation. As I again reviewed and reviewed all of the spiritual principles I had learned, it became crystal clear that surrender was the only one that made any sense. It even began to look like, using my financial situation as a spiritual challenge could quite possibly thrust me forward on my spiritual path.
I sat on my porch, somewhat proud of my new approach. Yet still very clear that my car needed a new clutch. It would be $400. I did not have $400. I was proud anyway. The worry and the devastation had lifted.
As I was sitting there, one of my neighbors came up my stairs and sat down with me on my porch. (There were a few of us that hung out on my front porch in the evenings. Her name was Laura.) Laura was a good friend. As far as I could see, Laura had a more precarious financial situation than me.
I was excited to share my new found stance of surrender around money. I told the entire story to Laura. I poured out every detail of my in depth thought process, all of my feelings, and my ultimate conclusion that surrendering to my financial reality was my only option. While I realized, I told her, that I knew I still had to search for a viable financial solution, I was clear that it was imperative that I accept my circumstances and not be distraught over it.
Laura solemnly and intently listened to my story. She nodded as if she really did know the pain and angst of not having enough. I was so happy in that moment. Happy to be sitting on my porch. Happy to have a friend to share with. Happy that worry did not have to be an answer to my problems.
At some point, Laura looked at me. She told me that she had a plan to sell her car. She was going to ask $900 for it and thought she had a buyer. She said, ‘I want to split the money in half with you.’
I was in shock. Had I heard her correctly? This was the first time in my life, I had ever been presented with a financial generosity of this magnitude. Not only such generosity, but so random. Not from anyone, that might feel obligated, not from anyone that really had the money to spare and not from anyone that I would have imagined in my wildest dreams could or would be able to help me.
It was real….the offer was real!
Laura quickly began to share her ideas and plans about how fast she could get the money to me.
Words cannot describe the gratitude I felt in that moment. Words simply cannot describe it. It was so much more than money. It was so much more than sharing. It was a gift of the heart.
My gratitude for that moment has never left me. My gratitude for Laura’s generosity has never left me.
All these years later, I have not experienced that level of financial uncertainty again.
The moment where only pure hopelessness exists.
An act of generosity, changed my life. It can change yours. It can change everyone’s!