An interesting thing happened to Jake and me yesterday. Each of us checked the bank account for one reason or another, and then had to check again. It was in decent shape, more decent than it's been in months, and each of us had the same worry: I hope it isn't that number because of the tax return.
The tax return is too big this year--not TOO BIG, but bigger than we usually try to aim for. Who knows why. It goes straight into savings. We know what we're getting back and we're just waiting on the direct deposit--but we both were worried that the decent number was actually because of the return and therefore not as decent as we might have thought.
Suddenly things are ok. Not superb, and we're taking on extra things like a Catholic school tuition payment for Fiona.
Last night I went to a meeting at said Catholic school that laid things out for that parish and what's on the horizon financially. Most of it was charts and graphs and mildly interesting statistics. But a brief talk from a parishioner got me thinking. She talked about giving to the parish, about supporting the school even if you don't have children there. She talked about generosity and how her own family's generosity to her parish has never left them destitute, has never left them wanting, even when it looked dicey.
We give to our parish electronically, each month. But last fall, our parish switched management companies for this service. I cancelled ours in September. I thought Jake, who sits on the Stewardship Commission, would get us started on the other. He thought that I would, since I'd cancelled the other. It didn't happen. We didn't notice. Because money was tight and we were realizing things like I have to get a job or we're going to have to figure out what to change. Drastically.
Things were tight all through the fall and winter. And then in January Jake asked, "Have we started up with the online giving thing I told you about?"
It became clear that we hadn't. And thank goodness, because that sort of chunk out of our budget would have been insane the past few months. Right?
I signed up and increased our monthly giving by just a smidgen. I felt bad that we'd forgotten. I promised myself that we'd increase even more once I had a job next school year.
And then weird things happened. I'm not going to get all superstitious and foolish here, but suddenly I had 3 tutoring students instead of 1, well, and the kid who sometimes calls me in a panic. I got into the substitute system and had work. Jake, who works mostly on commission, had a great January. We got a gift to help out with tuition. The tax return is a little bigger than we thought it would be. Suddenly things are workable, even with a tuition payment and online giving. Perhaps because of? That doesn't even make any sense. So I'll maybe not make too many conclusions there but it's hard not to.