The year after I dropped out of college I worked as a receptionist at a tech company and shared an apartment with my best friend. I can’t remember the exact circumstances of our financial situation, but I remember we were in a Tight Spot.
We were in danger of not making rent and didn’t have enough money for groceries.
Is was so bad that we ate an onion fried in butter for dinner one night, cashed in our penny jars at the bank, and grown-up friends left a few bags of groceries at our apartment door on more than one occasion.
We also tried to sell my friend’s tiny green Le Car by posting signs in the window that said, “Please buy this car or we’ll be living in it.”
In the years since then I’ve been in both plenty and want, but this month feels a little like those Glory Days of eating Ramen, fried onions, and selling stuff to pay the bills.
I’m not sure we’ll get enough client payments to make the mortgage, we decided the destination of our date night based on the amount of gas we had in our car, and the Porter I’m drinking now is courtesy of some Christmas money I’d stashed away for a rainy day.
And still, I think I’m the happiest I’ve been in a long time.
Money is just money, and things are just things. We work hard and I’m sure the mortgage will get paid eventually… but even if it doesn’t, we’ll be okay.
I remember talking to my mom those many years ago, and she fretted. She was good at fretting. “What do I do??” she fretted. “Do I send you money??”
No, I said. We’ll be fine.
And even now as I think back on that season, I remember it as being fun. I’m sure it wasn’t at the time, but that’s the beauty of retrospect: we only remember the important things through a filter of maturity.
I don’t remember feeling stressed or scared, but I do remember watching Robert Downey Jr. in Chaplin for $1 at the King Cat theater, then walking all the way home to lower Queen Anne in the middle of the night because I didn’t have bus money.
So in this current season I attempt to trust God with things I can’t control, rest in the sovereignty of his provision, and enjoy the moments that bring me joy in the midst of our Tight Spot.