After writing yesterday’s blog post about our diminished prosperity, I was quite upset. I am an emotional sort, given my brooding artistic temperament, and I should know by now that complaining about money and the state of the world will only work me up—or, perhaps, down—into a blue funk (or, occasionally, a purple rage).
So today’s post is meant to be a yellow counterpoint. It’s easy for me to fixate on negatives. That’s pretty much the nature of blogging and commentating about politics and culture. And while I am optimistic for the future, I am a declinist: I can’t help but notice that much of culture is, at best, a stagnant swamp (hiding away the occasional orchid); at worst, it’s a swamp draining into a desert.
But enough that. Today’s post is about counting blessings.
The Great Recession marked me deeply, and is a big reason I work so hard. I want to avoid ever being in the position—again—of seeking out employment with only a few hundred dollars in the bank. Ideally, my goal is to build a “pirate ship,” as Gavin McInnes calls his website, Censored.TV, from which I can mouth-off with impunity. As a conservative, I’m cognizant that my barely-tolerated wrongthink today could cost me employment tomorrow, when the Social Justice Commissars decide that supporting traditional marriage and Christianity is grounds for public defenestration.
Part of my frustration in yesterday’s post is how much harder it’s become to build the U.S.S. Financial Independence, as well as the sense that after a decade of grinding I’m only marginally better off than I was at 25. But that gnawing sensation ignores a number of important differences:
- I have saved up a decent retirement nest egg. It’s not enough to live off of for a couple of decades—yet—but it’s more than most people my age have managed to squirrel away. The Virus has robbed me of some of that accumulation (about 20% of it), but it’s untouchable for decades, anyway, so it will come back; meanwhile, my recurring 403(b) contributions are buying mutual funds on the cheap.
- I am debt-free. Thanks to my parents generously helping to pay for college, as well as the life-changing gift from my grandparents of a 2006 Dodge Caravan that I drove for nearly fourteen years, I was able to avoid years of student loan and car payments. I also lived in a cheap apartment for eight years, what my younger brother called “a Handi-House in two rednecks’ backyard,” for $450 a month—far below what my peers were paying for their cookie-cutter studio apartments.
- That allowed me to pay cash for my latest vehicle. I also grossed enough in private lessons, gigs, tips, and merch sales in 2019 to cover the cost of that vehicle.
- I own a house, free-and-clear, also thanks to my parents’ generous assistance. I make payments to them monthly, interest-free. I also bought a house in a small town in the country, where I could get a very well-maintained house on a good lot two blocks from Main Street for a fraction of what a similarly sized house would have cost me in any of the neighboring cities.
Those are just some of the tangible, fiscal blessings in my life. As you can see, my folks have been instrumental in helping me start life without excess indebtedness. From a financial perspective, that’s probably the greatest gift any parents could give their children, and I fully intend to pass that along to my hypothetical future offspring (or, barring that, my niece and nephews).
Thanks, Mom and Dad.
More importantly, they taught me not just the value of a dollar and how to work hard; they taught me about Jesus. I have to keep reminding myself that despair is a sin, and that, even as bad as things seem in the world, other Christians living in other times had it far worse. Sure, we’re going to court for refusing to bake a cake for a couple of lesbos (because free association is no longer worthy compared to celebrating absurd sexual peccadilloes), but we’re not being burned alive or crucified upside-down.
There have been times over the past year when I’ve shouted at God, “Why don’t you do something?” It’s the classic frustration that I want God to do things my way, instead of patiently waiting on His perfect timing (“How do you know God has a sense of humor?—He has perfect timing”; cue rim-shot).
It’s been a tough, stressful year, and yesterday’s post reminded me of that. But it’s also a reminder of how important it is to surrender to God’s Will—and to trust in Him. This whole Virus situation is a powerful reminder just how little we’re actually in control, even—especially—when we have a plan in place.
Of course, thanks to those of you that read this blog daily, and especially to my SubscribeStar subscribers.
And, hey, at least I don’t have The Virus! I think….