My sister-in-law sent an email the other day to the family (her mom, brother, me, other brother, his wife, dad and step-mother) asking for prayers because she needed to sell her car this weekend so she can pick up the new car she’s purchased on sunday. Nothing fancy – we’re not talking selling one beat up old Ford and picking up a BMW. She has a CRV that needs struts and shocks and for whatever reason she’s decided to sell the car instead of paying for the repair. She’s being honest and disclosing everything in her add and asking a very reasonable price. And she’s buying a newer CRV than the model year she owns. Personally, I don’t understand why but that’s beside the point. The point I’m trying to make is in her email: The fact that a simple request like “I need to sell my car” can be sent to those nearest and dearest without the batting of an eyelash.

My trouble is that I’m biting my tongue (or rather sitting on my quick typing fingers) by not sending a reply along the lines of “and while you’re at it, pray that our loan modification comes through this week because I don’t have the money to pay the mortgage due July 1st (and I didn’t pay the June 1st bill either for lack of funds…).” But that seems very passive aggressive, no?

Why is there shame in our situation? Sure, hindsight is 20-20 of course. We could have done things differently when we were newly in this situation. Hubs could have worked harder and more consistently to get a job (he will admit, sadly, that there were times when he just let it go. Depression? Possibly). But we are here now and we need prayer. And we need answers, and I feel like this yearning is counterintuitive to what I wrote the other day about prayer but I’m not freaked out about the lack of mortgage payment, I know it’s in God’s hands and somehow this will be worked out one way or another. But how come we don’t send emails like this updating our family and friends on the status of our situation?

Money is such a taboo. It’s OK sometimes to joke about not having any, but you better be doing the joking from your modest house, simple vacation rental, or sensible 10 year old car. You can joke about having too much if you really are blessed with resources but you’ll look like a douche unless folks know you are philanthropic with your cash.  Other than that people don’t really talk about money ever.  It troubles me that we feel so much shame and guilt about our situation which I truly believe is one that could happen to anyone. It leaves you feeling isolated, only speaking in broad terms with those closest to you and staying mum to anyone else, maybe just a “yeah, well, you know…” in response if they are brave enough to ask how we’re doing financially.

We DON’T have the money to pay all our bills every month. We ARE on food stamps and Medicaid. We DON’T know if we’ll get our loan modification requests approved for our mortgage and home equity lines. We are MAXED OUT on two credit cards, leaving a Target card as our only working one and it’s used strictly for things like toilet paper, dish soap, shampoo, tampons, toothpaste, trash bags and laundry detergent (stuff you can’t use food stamps to purchase but really are necessities). We have NO money in our savings account. We WORK our asses off. We CANNOT pay to for necessary car repairs and household fixes that keep adding up.

So why?? Why don’t we reach out in detail to those we love and know love us back? Why is it such a shadow on our lives to live with this lack of funds? It’s a frustrating place to be and one of the reasons why I started blogging again. I feel like these things need to be spoken, if not to benefit us, then to benefit the next family dealing with extended unemployment. If you are reading this and you know someone who has been out of salaried work for a long period of time, KNOW that they are dealing with all this too. I hope that in bringing awareness to the toll extended unemployment truly takes on a person and their family will allow someone else to be helped in a way they didn’t know they needed and didn’t have to ask for. So that person you know? Go buy them a gift card to the grocery store or Target or Costco or something.  Even Jiffy Lube or a gas card. Boring, yes. Practical, HELL YES. Finding these occasionally through the past 2.5 years in our mailbox, often anonymously is like a huge breath of fresh air and a little tiny bit of weight lifted off my shoulders. And if you are feeling even more generous, a gift card for dinner out and an offer to babysit would be unbelievable. Or treat to a pedicure or something pampering.  Or just bring over fresh cut flowers and a six-pack of their favorite hard cider. Just sayin.