I had about 30 tabs of financial blogs open on my computer when my husband asked me that question. Those of you who know him – know that he is so sweet and reserved and very thoughtful. I blabbered something about the budget then continued with my scrolling. However, over the months I have thought a great deal about why I wanted to write about money now.
I am not driven by having a huge bank balance for the sake of a huge balance, but I am interested in the freedom to love that money has given those around me. Financial freedom gives us time, access to good education and for some citizenship in places of their choice. Access to money can do good. I know – money and love in the same sentence – blasphemy!
When I was not well, I found myself surrounded by so much love and kindness and it has since occurred me that the financial cost of that love and kindness was not $0 on those who gave it. The night after my surgery I was unable to sleep. I was too scared to close my eyes. I thought if I did, I would never wake up. The thought of sleep as I watched my husband after 48 hours of caring for me finally find rest was attractive but also scary, so I stayed awake. One of my nurses came to sit with me from about 11 pm to 4 am. Over the course of the night, we shared personal stories about our lives. Then something she said struck a code in me. She had only just returned to work after having left to provide care for their baby. Financially they could not afford full-time childcare so she was working reduced hours. Since then I have read stories and spoken to health care providers who like many middle-class families can’t make ends meet. It felt unfair to me that someone who works so hard should struggle to care for their child. I felt really lucky that she had chosen to return to work and that I benefited from her care.
The following day one of my best friends came to the hospital and spent the entire day with us (We love you, Anna). That morning I also sent a text to our Pastor who was in our hospital room in what felt like minutes. I have shared this with people who responded with – well that is the job of a Pastor or friend. Perhaps, but churches do not run on water and neither do their cars. When we returned home our house was full of beautiful flowers. Our church family made a meal train and one of my very best college friends bought me the softest gentlest bedroom slippers (Thanks Kelz). There are too many people in our village who showed up for us- I will forever be grateful for your thoughtfulness. I understood the message my friends and church family were sending- they could not be there in person, but they were using their resources to let us know that we were loved and thought of.
Since then I have been able to go to yoga daily, see my therapist weekly and even get acupuncture. My acupuncture sessions were a gift from my Zim sisters who asked what they could do to help me. If I had let them, they would have flown the many miles to be in our home with me. I know that I have been able to physically heal faster because I have had access to resources that helped me do so.
A year or so ago I did something for my mother that cost quite a bit. The first thing her friend said to me was, Chipo your mother has never looked more relaxed and happier. There is no price tag for such joy or inner peace.
To me, money is a tool that we can use to improve our lives. Learning how to manage and navigate money issues is an important pathway to more wholesome and fuller lives.
I also like traveling. I won’t tell you how much we spent on flights because you will sooo judge me.