Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Bittersweet: Mourning the Loss and Celebrating, Too

This morning I paid off my line of credit.  And then promptly cried.  Hard.

It wasn't exactly the reaction I was expecting on finding myself suddenly free from all debt except for my student loans.  But it was the reaction that came.

There is a huge sense of relief in having that debt disappear.  It frees up a significant chunk of money each month.  That in itself is a blessing since I don't have income coming in at the moment.  And the weight of knowing that I was in debt, that's gone too.

But it made me ache, too, for a number of reasons.

The first is this.  I had the money to pay off my debt because I lost my job.  For the years I was employed at the company that dismissed me in May, a mandatory portion of my paycheque was deducted and matched by the company and put into an RRSP fund that I couldn't access.  Because I lost my job in a way that some days still makes me ache a little, I could now access those funds, and I made the decision to do so in the hope that paying off the debt would be a huge financial help in the midst of the financially tighter time that has come from being so unexpectedly unemployed, and that I face as I face the reality that I will be a student for the next several years, and certainly not enjoying the relative degree of financial independence that I had while employed full time in a decent paying job.

The second reason for feeling bittersweet is the harder one, and it is the one that prompted tears.  The debt that I paid off came from a time nearly three years ago now, when I followed what I believed (and believe) was God's prompting, and then watched as nearly everything in life that I'd been certain of disintegrated around me.  The debt came as unexpected costs of travel meant that I bought groceries on my credit card to ensure that a rent cheque would clear.  It came from flights and rental cars as I traveled to various locales both to maintain my sanity (in part by collecting hugs from a dear friend) and to work to patch up rifts that seemed to grow ever larger.  I don't regret spending the money on those things, and they were my choice, but the debt, and now, the ending of it, is a reminder of the many things and relationships in which my heart was deeply invested that now seem lost to me.  It was a reminder of the cost, and somehow, the end of it makes that cost seem so much more final.

I'm not sure exactly how to explain it, but this cartoon from a blog I love, ASBO Jesus struck me as I thought about all of this today.  I laughed, hard, and a bit ruefully as I considered it.

In some ways I feel like parts of myself were lost over the last years.  And somehow paying off the debt was a reminder of those losses, and the tears a pause again to recognize them.

And yet, I am becoming more whole each day.  I choose to believe that.  That healing is coming in new and special ways.  That being free from debt opens doors even as it seems to in some ways close others.  And if I get to choose (and I increasingly believe I do), then that is what I'm going to focus on.  New beginnings, even as I pause to mourn the loss.


Allie, Dearest said...

My last few years have all crumbled and dissolved into today's tea, too. It's so disheartening, even though you're right, we're becoming whole.

I so often wish I could really write about it, but it involves so many of my friends and family that I'd incriminate myself by doing so. Thanks for your beautiful honesty.

Lisa said...

ah, Allie... I smiled as I read your comment, mostly because I thought of all the things I wished I could have said about the cost of the last few years, and couldn't because of the friends and family and people for whom I still care so deeply that were and are involved... I smiled because I thought about how often I've said that exact thing - that I wish I could REALLY write about it.

thanks for commenting and finding honesty even in the things where the things left unsaid are big.

Anonymous said...

Here's to continuing the journey to wholeness on increasingly deeper levels each day...and reminders of the things you've gained - such as other new friends, such growth, etc. - in these same years as the tremendous...well...lots of words fit. You know what I mean :-)

Hugs to you, friend

Lisa said...

LP/CA - yes... many things gained, too, and working to focus on those. Yep, I know what you mean :)

hugs back!