My husband and I have a dream... a dream of being debt free. At this point it feels far more like an unattainable unrealistic dream than a goal. But for the sake of clarity I will say it is an official goal of ours- to be debt free.
Right now it feels impossible.
It reminds me a bit of a trip I took years ago. When I was 15 I travelled to Kathmandu, Nepal with Teen Missions International. A group of about 30 teenagers (along with our trusty adult leaders) went and stayed and worked at a Kathmandu orphanage for 7 weeks. It was intense and an amazing experience that I shall never forget.
But while we were there we went on a hike up a mountain near Kathmandu... it was a very mild form of Himalayan trekking. At the time I was a fairly fit, not overweight, 15 year old and I found this hike incredibly difficult. I have asthma and that didn't help. But as we were trying to reach the top of that mountain I felt like I was going die. Once we got to the top and I caught my breath it was fabulous. But the trip up sucked. As a point of interest I even saw Everest from the top of our mountain.
Getting out of debt feels like I am trying to hike up Mount Everest... a 32 year old overweight asthmatic carrying my three kids and cat on my back. Can you see it? I don't even have one of those incredible Nepalese Sherpa's to help me carry my stuff and show me the way.
It feels incredibly overwhelming. In fact I would far rather put my stuff down and sit down and give up completely than attempt the trek.
But the thing is we HAVE to do it. Debt is eating us alive.
I must say we have tried valiantly over the years of our marriage to stay out of debt. At one point we had almost done it... and then my husband got laid off from his job and we were suddenly homeless and jobless for a few months. We have never recovered.
I saw awhile back on Oprah that most Americans are one pay cheque from living on the street. I don't know about anyone else but I sure know that is true for us. Not that we would have to live on the street... the street is darn cold here in our neck of the woods. Plus we have good family and good friends. But the point is we aren't very far from disaster.
And I have noticed that when I share this with people many of them tend to be rather judgemental. I have been given my fair share of "helpful advice" on how to be a better "steward" of the money God has given us. The thing is I don't need anyone else to tell us we screwed up! We know that. People telling us how much we suck for being in debt and how we aren't living the way God wants us to live really aren't helping me any. They just make me feel MORE discouraged about the whole situation.
Sometimes I just want to talk to people who DON'T have it all figured out. You know, the people who AREN'T perfect. Like me. People who are willing to take this journey with us instead of jeering us from the sidelines or pointing and laughing from the summit.
Not everyone is good with money. But sometimes even people who are relatively good with finances and have good intentions still get into trouble.
It's like you get to base camp on Everest and then a snowstorm hits and causes an angry mountain goat to fall into the side of your tent causing it to hurtle into a deep ravine and you are hanging onto a rope being held up by your friendly neighbourhood Sherpa with one hand and your entire family with the other. Nepalese Sherpa's are strong but not strong enough to hold up 5 Robertson's on a rope.
So you fall.
And that's where we are. In the pit. Now we just have to figure a way out of this mess before we all freeze to death.