9 Lessons: Lessons 2 & 3

One year ago, today, God taught me my second and third lessons. The importance, well the lack of importance, of money as well as how to spend. A year ago, I sat in the room across from and had to call the car rental agency I was renting a car from and let them know that I did not have a way of knowing when I would return the car. The only option I had, was to constantly call and push back my return date by the next day so that I would not be paying for extra days. If you have ever rented a car, you probably know how expensive this could get, because it is almost always cheaper to pay in advance for a set time. The rental car on top of the plane ticket I had to buy to go see mom seemed to add up in my mind, especially with the thought of having to pay for another plane ticket in the future. My step father said he would take care of it all of course, but I still was uncomfortable with anyone having to pay for so much, especially for a time like this.

I have been blessed to grow up without the worry of money. I always had a meal when I wanted, went to great schools, had great doctors, and was even lucky enough to get a car when I turned 16. However, I was taught incredibly valuable lessons about money, and the art of saving, budgeting, and being smart about it. These lessons seemed to not matter at the time though. I sat with Mom all day that day, as well as the day before, chatting with her when she was awake. I began telling her about the costs and stuff and she just said not to worry about it, but I couldn’t. I felt somewhat responsible and wanted to help, because I knew how important money was. Mom just looked at me and smiled and told me how proud she was of me and wanting to be smart with money, but money is not everything. She told me how when she got diagnosed a second time with cancer, money was one of the last things she was worried about.

Life is too short to worry about money so much. Mom told me that’s why she sold as much as she could and moved away from the city, so that she could focus on what’s truly important, her life. That’s why she finally began going on trips and vacations (Something she hardly did when she worked), she was finally living. When I took this blog, and all mom’s writings and journals, I found a page with an entry. It was a small entry, only a sentence, but so powerful to me. It read:

“I’m worried, because I know that when the time comes that I truly live, is when I will die.”

The words seem as though she wrote them after she passed, because of how true they were, but that entry was years ago. Mom passed away, just as she was beginning to truly live. She understood though, that money is important, but so many things are much more important. When you understand that, you understand how to spend, not money, but life.

You can spend money and you can spend life, and you can almost spend both similarly. You can waste your money just as you can waste your life, or save some money and save some of your life. However, the difference is in the measure. There are trillions upon trillions of dollars in the world to spend, but each person has only one life to spend. How a person spends their life is much more important than how they should spend their money. I would have happily spent every penny I owned, given up everything I had, to keep Mom here. However similar life and money may seem, they are not currencies that can be exchanged, so spend them wisely.

 

Matthew 6:19 – 21; “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

9 Lessons: Lesson 1- Planning

One year ago, from today, God placed me on a course to teach me 9 life and spiritual lessons. His first lesson was not an easy one to learn and took me months to fully understand it. July 29th 2017, I had a flight booked to go see mom, a flight I had planned in my head that I would have to take, but was planned to be much later. Little did I know that this was not the only plan I would have expedited. I never planned to take over mom’s blog, until this day one year ago.

I will never forget that plane ride. Thoughts, memories, plans all rushing through my head, until a brief period where my mind was clear and I felt an urge to write. I pulled out my laptop, and through tears (that were hidden behind sunglasses of course) I wrote my first post. I knew while I wrote what I wanted from Mom, and I knew God wanted me to have it to remember her and to share her story. Being that I studied Psychology in college, I understand grief, and had planned somewhat to the stages. Acceptance is sometimes seen as the last stage of grief, but for me I think it was the first, again, something I had not planned for. I knew Mom’s fate, and I knew that I would be flying back home at some point knowing I would never hear her voice, text her about what I’m doing, or see her again. I knew all of this, before I had even landed.

I usually get extreme anxiety from flying, but for this instance, I wish I could’ve stayed in the air forever, because although the flight had many tears, nothing compares to the driving. I remember landing and getting a rental car and driving to where Mom and my Step Father lived. It was the worst hour and half drive I have ever done. I wanted nothing more than to turn around, get back on a plane, and fly back home and hide. I couldn’t of course, and I knew what I was going into. Or at least, I thought I did.

The day before was when my Step Father had called me to tell me that I needed to get to them as soon as possible. He gave me some details about how Mom was doing, but generally it was just “she’s not good” or “she’s really bad”. On the drive, I went through what I expected. I mean, how bad could she really be? I just went to the beach with her less than 2 weeks ago. I thought maybe she was just bed ridden, but that was it. It was not. When I walked into their room and saw her, it was a mixture of extreme happiness, but extreme sadness. I was so happy to see her still there, but so incredibly sad that I knew she would not be there long.

She was much worse than I had imagined, and I am like mom, “Hope for the best and plan for the worst” was our motto. However, I am sometimes too much of an optimist and did a poor job at understanding where mom was at. Mom was bed ridden, but not in her bed, in a hospital bed. She had just gotten on oxygen, and had a care nurse already. Even with tubes in her nose, and glazed eyes, she was still my beautiful Mom and smiled at me and in a soft, faint voice said my name before we hugged. I spent the rest of the day next to her chatting, and enjoying my time with her, because now my original plan to stay there for hopefully a few weeks was quickly being altered.

Now, as I said at the beginning, this lesson took months to be taught. Before Mom passed away, for many years, all the way to even after she passed, I had my life plan. I was in school for what I wanted to do, I wanted to get my PhD in Clinical Psychology and eventually go on into Forensic Psychology. It was what I planned to do since day one of college. However, I needed a bunch of extracurricular things to get into a program. Luckily, I had it planned out to get it all done in my last year because it would be my easiest year. The first thing I was going to do was volunteer for a help line, something I had already gone in to interview and basically was a for sure place for me, and something that greatly helps a résumé. However, training began the day after Mom passed away. I still planned to make it, so the night before, a few hours after I had landed, I grabbed my dog, jumped in my car, and left my girlfriend’s house. My girlfriend and her whole entire family have been my rock, and my absolute biggest help through all of this, it’s why I rushed back after Mom passed away to be with them. So, leaving them so soon after Mom had gone was difficult, too difficult. Maybe ten minutes down the road, I heard a voice in my head that sounded like Mom tell me to turn around. I did just that, and went back to those that could help me more. Doing so, though, virtually ruined all my plans of four years of school and studying. What I had planned was no more.

God taught me through my first day with mom, and first day without her that no matter what you plan for, only His plan matters. Never put all your eggs in a basket is what I always hear, and its true. I never planned to be where I am today. A year and a week ago I would not be expecting to be writing blog posts on my Mom’s blog, I would be expecting to be working on a PhD. However, things always happen for a reason, even if it’s not clear when it happens and I learned that if I ever needed guidance for my  own path that I just need to ask God for his guidance, and he will always show you the way.

 

 

Proverbs 3:5-6- “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.”