Moving Forward

Thank you friends for bearing with us during the lead up and execution of what we, in all of our self-absorption, felt was the event of the half-century: our 50th wedding anniversary!
Now we’re completely over it, and are adjusting to what we call the “AP life” (After Party).  We’re discovering “AP” that we like to sleep more, uninterrupted by thoughts in the night like, “Did I buy enough pickles? Have we arranged for the music? Oh my goodness! Has the venue really been booked?”
I can almost hear you sighing, “Thank goodness” as I promise now that, at least for the next few weeks, I’m going to beat on another dead horse called “Marsha’s Blog” and try to share some observations we’ve made along the journey.  When that runs out, I may find (No! Don’t say it!) that I have nothing else to write about.For the last several years, I’ve shared with you everything from life on the mission field, upcoming retirement and grand anniversary celebrations. I’ve always assumed that “older and wiser” were two words that were inseparable, but so far at least, all I’ve managed to achieve is the former. It’s a matter for prayer, as Tony and I try to peep through the curtain into the Next Big Chapter. He assures me, by the way, that I will NEVER come to the point of having nothing to say. In the meantime …  here we go:

Today I’m going to fast forward a few years from Tony and I meeting to some time after we were married. What reminded me of this incident was that a few weeks ago my daughter and her hubby moved into a brand new house. We have fluffed and fluttered around them as they’re doing this, wanting to jump in and advise them as they make it happen. Nicki is calling it “Adulting”.

As you can imagine, they’ve had a few bumps in the road just like the ones we ourselves had back in the day. But I think I’m glad to say they’re not doing what WE did!
We didn’t buy a house (we were much too poor and unorganized for that), but Tony did get a teaching job way out in the boondocks of Colorado, and all we could think about was,  “We’re going to have a real SALARY! We’re going to be RICH!”
It wasn’t long before we racked up some debt. Not huge, but certainly (as we soon found out) more than this great paycheck of Tony’s could cover.

One month, after all the bills were paid – including 24% interest in some cases – I remember that we had exactly $4.00 left.  We looked at each other, shrugged our shoulders, smiled and soldiered on.  After all, we had a freezer (new purchase) full of vegetables from our garden, and a fireplace to keep us warm.

I was commuting into college every day, a mere 100-mile drive round trip.  Gas was about 36 cents a gallon, so we could afford that. We also made it an occasional habit to just show up at our folks and happily receive free meals and whatever else we could scavenge, for the weekend.

Along with this clever economic trick to go home for the weekend, we also, without really discussing it, quietly stopped giving our tithe.
I’ll always love and thank our wonderful pastor, Aaron Nutter, who never said a word either about our absent tithe nor our physical absence, as many weeks we just couldn’t muster going back into town on a Sunday.  We were young and we thought we knew everything and probably wouldn’t have taken a reprimand well.  He was old enough to know that sometimes we young people just needed to learn on our own.

Well, as this is becoming a long story, I’ll tell you what happened. We were actually headed out for the weekend at our folks’ house, three hours away, when something went “Clunk” at the crest of a hill, and the car rolled to a stop. Tony was able to flag down a truck heading in the way we’d just come.  A couple of hours later he walked back to the car and told me that he’d been able to find a payphone and call his folks and they would be there in a few more hours.
We huddled down in some sleeping bags and opened a coffee can of snacks we’d prepared for just such an emergency.  My parents had insisted that we make this ‘emergency kit’ for the car as I was commuting in Eastern Colorado where it’s not unusual to have wicked white out blizzards. In case you’re not familiar, in those cases you’re safer staying in your car and waiting out the storm.

Snuggling there, we figured the stalling of the car was a bona fide ‘Emergency’ so, as we’ve done all of our lives, we appropriated our motto, “When in doubt, eat”.

Eventually we were rescued and towed the car all the way into Fort Collins with a chain. I don’t think that would be legal today, but back then it was the only sensible thing to do.  Several days later, we got the repair bill.  $357 dollars!

If that wasn’t devastating enough, something about that number was familiar. We did a little calculating on paper, and you guessed it,  $357.00 was EXACTLY the amount we’d stiffed God to that point by withholding our tithe.

I’m not superstitious, but does God have a sense of humor when He’s teaching something?

Not sure about that, but I AM sure about Malachi 3:10, and I’ll leave it with you:   “Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.”

Hope you have a wonderful week!

Marsha

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