"We’ll have a savings account! We’ve never had one before… Kids, I think everything is going to be okay!"

Just ten minutes ago as I was negotiating my overwrought toddlers – one from lack of sleep and the other still recovering composure from a nasty wee bullying incident at preschool – I got a phone call from a medical office we owe money to. Two days ago we made a $100 down payment on a bill that amounts to several hundred dollars (thanks for nothing, fucking $500-a-month insurance plan!). The chipper voice of the office assistant steels me for the inevitable polite yet depressing conversation: Can you pay this off today? No, sorry. When were you planning on paying off the full amount? … blah blah blah.

Instead this woman is fumbling for words and talking about “cutting the balance in half”. I figure she means they want us to pay half, pronto. But no, she explains – the owner of the practice wants to cut our bill in half. As in, a big discount. Apparently for no other reason than that he knows we are a single-income family with young children who are trying to make ends meet. When I get the gist of what this woman is trying to tell me, I am almost upset. A part of me wants to stiffly defend our intention of meeting the payment agreement and deny any special favors. Another part of me knows that we are behind on quite a few bills and we should accept the generosity offered us.

Life is so much simpler when people don’t deviate from the normal script. If you owe money you can feel harassed, bitch to your spouse about how his or her spending habits are “the problem”, complain about the price of gas or scrimp on your tips to the barista out of resentment for the cost of your daily four-dollar coffee. But when someone offers to forgive a debt, it throws you. You are forced to either deny the generosity, or loosen up your grip on anxiety and anger. Of course – who doesn’t appreciate the offer (in this case, $300 and change)? Who doesn’t feel humbled by such a gesture? And who among us can say, “Thank you” – with grace in their heart and a mindfulness to live more generously yet responsibly?

I am consoled by what the universe has offered our family today, in part because know I am a generous person. An hour before this call I loaned our truck to a mom friend who will be left without reliable transportation for a few days. I know that when I offer something, I am offering it freely. I guess I just have a hard time accepting these things when they are thrown my way.

Thank you.

“I feel pretty, oh so pretty …”
My sister sent Sophie a present in the mail the other day. Nels liked the scarf.

Comments are closed.