The **Magic Murder Bag** remains unchanged (with the exception of adding Wild by Cheryl Strayed; excellent memoir about her experience on the Pacific Crest Trail), marking one of the few times in recent history I didn’t go to the library to return books and come back with five more. My willpower is getting stronger. There was, however, a pretty huge sale at a bookstore I frequent in Lemoyne, PA, that I just had to take advantage of…no shame. :)
Thoughts on Present Discontents
My wife and I went through Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University program together in our first year of marriage. Regardless of recent reports about the culture at Ramsey’s headquarters and his attitude toward critics, the program itself is great for getting oneself out of debt and into financial stability (as far as such a thing goes in America today…). We’ve been at this debt-snowball-from-Hell thing for about four years now, and we’ll be finished with it all some time in September. I cannot begin to tell you how much I have looked forward to this, to be free of the student debt we accumulated at VFCC and to have no one have claim to the money we receive anymore.
The trouble, however, is that the middle/end of September is about 10-12 weeks away.
The debt snowball is why I work so much. Every time you’ve heard me gripe/gloat about overtime pay was, for me, watching hard earned money go to Citibank *spits on the ground*. The toll it has taken on my body, my sanity, my career goals (cloudy and undefined as they may be) is hardly worth the extra cash going to a monstrous loan with a variable interest rate. Our projected finish date certainly is a light at the end of the tunnel that’s grown brighter with every loan paid off (I think there were seven in all), but darkness has a funny way of overpowering that light, and you wonder if the light in question is the sun or an oncoming train.
On the other hand, this debt snowball has really taken a central place in my life, and by that I mean it tends to be my sole focus. It’s like the character Brooks from The Shawkshank Redemption. About a third of the way into the movie, Brooks, a man who has served fifty years in prison, gets paroled, but can’t handle life on the outside because prison is all that he’s known. He ends up hanging himself from the grief of trying to adapt to a new life. When something that big takes over your world, transitioning all at once into a new world is enough to drive a man insane.
In many ways, the debt we’ve carried has become my own Shawkshank. Christy, I think, will be just fine once all is said and done; I’m not so sure about me, though. Now, to be clear, I have no intentions to commit suicide; what I mean is that paying off this debt has become such a focus in my life that it’s taken away any effort I might have put to anything else in my life that I couldn’t shoehorn in around work. Any thoughts regarding vocation have been put aside; dreams deferred sagging like heavy loads, burdens that I cannot put out of mind, begging my attention while I toil away at a desk job. Friends and family get time when I can give it, but all they hear from me is how I’m working all the time and wish that I wasn’t.
These things eat away at my sanity, and I have grown accustomed to this. Fate’s sadistic twist here is that I have no idea what I will do once this is all over. What then will preoccupy me? What will I talk about, complain about? A great weight will fall off my chest in 10-12 weeks, but can I handle the unbearable lightness of that freedom?
I apologize for the depressing tone this takes. Putting it to digital paper curbs my negativity somewhat, believe it or not. In the meantime, I do have some stuff in the works for the upcoming days; I intend to dive into Process Theology: A Guide for the Perplexed and discuss my search for a new understanding of God, another deferred dream threatening to explode. Until then, you guys have a good week, and thank you for taking the time to read!
“A Dream Deferred” by Langston Hughes
What happens to a dream deferred?
Does it dry up
like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore–
And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over–
like a syrupy sweet?
Maybe it just sags
like a heavy load.
Or does it explode?