Being scared and being brave

Last week I was really grumpy. For pretty much no reason. No one likes being grumpy, but it sucks when it comes out of the blue and you just get mad and overreact to things. We are talking “freaking out and getting unnecessarily angry because my CD player stopped working one morning” overreaction. I hate that. (Mike fixed the CD player, for the record. All better.)

This week I have been feeling much better, although I am still feeling a bit overwhelmed. This is Mike’s last week of work. Starting on Saturday, I will be the sole provider for our household. That, my friends, is a scary thing. Mike will be starting school full-time in a few weeks, and he’s not going to get a part-time job until he has adjusted to his school schedule. We’ve been over the budget, and it’s do-able. There’s very little wiggle room in case of emergencies (or even Christmas) but it’s do-able. To me, though, it’s daunting to think that I am the one providing for us. It will only be for a short time, while Mike is in school. It’s not a long-term thing. We’ll cut back, but the end result will be that Mike’s not working 50 hours a week at a job over an hour away. We’ll have so much more time together. And next semester he’ll try to get a part-time job, and things will ease up a little bit.

I have to admit that I feel a little ashamed . . . I get caught up in my own fears and concerns about money, but look at Mike! He’s being incredibly brave and going back to school full-time. He’s giving himself a chance to pursue other career options, and he’s leaving the company that he has been with for a decade. He’s doing these amazing things, and I just keep worrying about the money.

This week in Sunday School, we had a discussion of the movie Pieces of April, which deals with the themes of being estranged from your family and dealing with family expectations in light of a crisis. As we talked about those things, I kept watching Mike. He didn’t say anything during the discussion, but I could see that some of the topics were really hitting home for him. You see, we haven’t spent any time with Mike’s parents in almost 5 years. He doesn’t have the same family support that I do, and no matter how supportive my family is, they can’t make up for that hole in his life.

When I think about that, about how Mike is doing these brave things for us even though he doesn’t have the same support that I have always had, it makes me want to be brave. It encourages me to think about ways to cut back. It makes me excited about staying at home this Christmas and drinking lots of hot chocolate and reading our Advent book and decorating the tree together in our new house and taking pictures of those things instead of getting each other presents.

I’m scared, there’s really no denying it. But I’m trying to focus on the big picture and not just the obstacles. And I’m trying to remember that courage is just fear that’s said its prayers. I’m trying to pray.

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